To Measure More Diverse America, Solution May Be in Census Questions

Posted in Articles, Census/Demographics, Media Archive, Social Science, United States on 2014-07-02 01:21Z by Steven

To Measure More Diverse America, Solution May Be in Census Questions

The New York Times
2014-07-01

Tanzina Vega

When Alexa Aviles received her census form in 2010, she was frustrated by the choices. Like all Hispanics, Ms. Aviles, a Puerto Rican who lives in Brooklyn, was first asked to identify her ethnicity and then to answer a question about her race. Ms. Aviles, 41, who works for a nonprofit, thought, “I’m all of these!” In annoyance, she checked Hispanic, and then identified herself as white, black and “some other race.”

Mustafa Asmar, a Palestinian-American waiter in Paterson, N.J., does not like his options either. Arab-Americans are broadly classified as white in the census. “When you fill out white or other, it doesn’t really represent the Middle Eastern population,” said Mr. Asmar, 25. “I don’t feel like I’m white. I don’t know what else to put.”

As the United States becomes more diverse, the Census Bureau is grappling with how to accurately classify race and ethnicity in its next decennial count in 2020. It is an issue that plays out in divergent ways for different groups. Many Hispanics, like Ms. Aviles, are frustrated that they are prompted to select from racial categories that they believe do not represent their identity.

Many Arabs have the opposite concern: They are not asked a separate ethnicity question and are typically categorized as white, a label that many feel does not apply…

Read the entire article here.

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Bill de Blasio and the Art of Political Image at… the Mermaid Parade

Posted in Articles, Communications/Media Studies, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, United States on 2014-06-29 18:09Z by Steven

Bill de Blasio and the Art of Political Image at… the Mermaid Parade

The New York Times
2014-06-23

Vanessa Friedman, Chief Fashion Critic


Mayor Bill de Blasio of New York with, from left, his son, Dante; his wife, Chirlane McCray; and his daughter, Chiara, at the Coney Island Mermaid Parade on Saturday. [Tina Fineberg/Associated Press]

Mayor Bill de Blasio and his family had kind of an interesting fashion moment over the weekend. In case you missed it, I offer the above photo of Mr. de Blasio in pirate kit; his wife, Chirlane McCray, in full Ariel getup and their two children both body-painted blue — all for the annual Coney Island Mermaid Parade. In fact, Dante and Chiara were king and queen of the parade, a kitsch classic that takes place on the first official day of summer (i.e. Saturday).

Why does this matter beyond the obvious comedic value? Strategy and image spin, my dear Watson. Strategy and image spin…

Read the entire article here.

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If I’d chosen to live my life passing as white, I’d have never been able to sing with Duke Ellington.

Posted in Excerpts/Quotes on 2014-06-11 20:44Z by Steven

“He [Herb Jeffries] told me he had to make this decision about whether he should try to pass as white,” the jazz critic Gary Giddins recalled in an interview for this obituary. “He said: ‘I just knew that my life would be more interesting as a black guy. If I’d chosen to live my life passing as white, I’d have never been able to sing with Duke Ellington.’”

William Yardley, “Herb Jeffries, a.k.a. ‘Bronze Buckaroo’ of Song and Screen, Dies at 100 (or So),” The New York Times, May 26, 2014. http://www.nytimes.com/2014/05/27/arts/music/herb-jeffries-singing-star-of-black-cowboy-films-dies-at-100.html.

 

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Pinpointing Another Reason That More Hispanics Are Identifying as White

Posted in Articles, Census/Demographics, Latino Studies, Media Archive, Social Science, United States on 2014-06-05 14:57Z by Steven

Pinpointing Another Reason That More Hispanics Are Identifying as White

The New York Times
2014-06-02

Nate Cohn

Recently, I wrote about new research that showed that a net 1.2 million Hispanics changed their racial identification from “some other race” to “white” between the 2000 and 2010 censuses.

Manuel Pastor, a professor at the University of Southern California, added an important detail to the story. Between 2000 and 2010, the census question on race and ethnicity changed in a subtle way.

The salient difference is the second line of the “Note” preceding the two questions on race and ethnicity. The 2010 census prefaces the otherwise identical questions with the statement: “For this census, Hispanic origins are not races.” The 2000 census offered no such clarification. Both questionnaires offered the “some other race” option at the bottom. The instruction could have led some Hispanics, who otherwise might have checked “some other race” because they thought their race was “Hispanic,” to switch their answer to “white.”…

Read the entire article here.

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Are Latinos Really Turning White?

Posted in Articles, Census/Demographics, Latino Studies, Media Archive, Social Science, United States on 2014-06-05 14:50Z by Steven

Are Latinos Really Turning White?

Latino Voices
The Huffington Post
2014-05-29

Manuel Pastor, Professor of Sociology and American Studies
University of Southern California

Writing for The New York Times, Nate Cohn recently reported that more Hispanics are identifying as white. The piece—which even includes a cute graphic in which a (presumably Latino) man steps from one square to another, miraculously becomes white, and then rises up to the sky—suggests that this may be “new evidence consistent with the theory that Hispanics may assimilate as white Americans, like the Italians or Irish….”

That’s interesting (and colorful), to be sure. But as I often tell my data staff, when you discover a surprising fact, you could be on to something—but you could also just be wrong.

Cohn’s analysis is actually a few steps removed, which may explain part of the problem. He bases his discussion on a summary offered by the Pew Research Center, which was in turn reporting on a presentation given at the annual meetings of the Population Association of America.

The underlying research is novel in several ways, one of which is that it links individual answers on the 2000 Census with the answers those same individuals gave when administered the Census in 2010.

It turns out that 2.5 million Americans who marked Hispanic and “some other race” in 2000 indicated that they were Hispanic and white a decade later; while another 1.3 million people flipped the other way, it’s still a large net gain—about 3.5 percent of the Latino population in the year 2000.

So what happened? Perhaps assimilation is indeed alive and well? Maybe the racial threats posed by anti-immigrant rhetoric led some Hispanics to become defensively white? Maybe it’s young people who became adults over the course of the decade and finally got a chance to choose their identity rather than have it chosen by the head of their household?

Or maybe the question changed…

Read the entire article here.

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Herb Jeffries, a.k.a. ‘Bronze Buckaroo’ of Song and Screen, Dies at 100 (or So)

Posted in Articles, Arts, Media Archive, United States on 2014-05-27 21:16Z by Steven

Herb Jeffries, a.k.a. ‘Bronze Buckaroo’ of Song and Screen, Dies at 100 (or So)

The New York Times
2014-05-26

William Yardley

Sheelagh McNeill contributed research.

Herb Jeffries, who sang with Duke Ellington and starred in early black westerns as a singing cowboy known as “the Bronze Buckaroo” — a nickname that evoked his malleable racial identity — died on Sunday in West Hills, Calif. He was believed to be 100.

The cause was heart failure, said Raymond Strait, a writer who had worked on Mr. Jeffries’s autobiography with him.

Mr. Jeffries used to say: “I’m a chameleon.” The label applied on many levels.

Over the course of his century, he changed his name, altered his age, married five women and stretched his vocal range from near falsetto to something closer to a Bing Crosby baritone. He shifted from jazz to country and back again, and from concert stages to movie theaters to television sets and back again…

…Mr. Ferro also recalled Mr. Jeffries saying: “You know, I’m colored. I’m just not the color you think I am.”

Mr. Jeffries’s racial and ethnic identity was itself something of a performance — and a moving target. His mother was white, his father more of a mystery. He told some people that his father was African-American, others that he was mixed race and still others that he was Ethiopian or Sicilian.

In the crude social math of his era, many people told Mr. Jeffries he could have “passed” for white. He told people he chose to be black — to the extent that a mixed-race person had a choice at the time.

“He told me he had to make this decision about whether he should try to pass as white,” the jazz critic Gary Giddins recalled in an interview for this obituary. “He said: ‘I just knew that my life would be more interesting as a black guy. If I’d chosen to live my life passing as white, I’d have never been able to sing with Duke Ellington.’ ”

In 1951, Life magazine published an extensive feature on Mr. Jeffries that dwelled heavily on his racial heritage.

“Jeffries’s refusal to ‘pass’ and his somewhat ambiguous facial appearance have let him in for so many cases of prejudice and mistaken identity that he is practically a one-man minority group,” the article said. It described his “smoky blue eyes” and noted that he was frequently mistaken for Mexican, Argentine, Portuguese “and occasionally a Jew,” but that he had chosen to be “what he is — a light-skinned Negro.”

Mr. Jeffries cited his race as Caucasian on marriage licenses. (All five of his wives were white; his second wife was the stripper Tempest Storm.)

Late in life he said that his father, Howard Jeffrey, was actually his stepfather, and that his biological father was Domenico Balentino, a Sicilian who died in World War I.

In a 2007 documentary about him, “A Colored Life,” Mr. Jeffries said that the name on his birth certificate was Umberto Alejandro Balentino, and that he was born on Sept. 24, 1913, two years later than he had sometimes told people. The documentary included a mock birth certificate bearing that name.

Firm evidence of Mr. Jeffries’s race and age is hard to come by, but census documents from 1920 described him as “mulatto” and listed his father as a black man named Howard Jeffrey. They give his birth year as 1914, which matches what he told Life in 1951.

“It’s always been the big question, you know — where do we really come from?” Romi West, one of Mr. Jeffries’s daughters from his first marriage, said in an interview…

Read the entire obituary here.

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Parents’ Nightmare: Futile Race to Stop Killings

Posted in Articles, Asian Diaspora, Media Archive, United States on 2014-05-26 05:31Z by Steven

Parents’ Nightmare: Futile Race to Stop Killings

The New York Times
2014-05-25

Adam Nagourney

It was Friday evening when the parents of Elliot O. Rodger clicked open the 140-page manifesto emailed to them from their son and learned of his plans for mass murder and suicide. Frightened and alarmed, they called 911 and then raced to Isla Vista, Calif., in separate cars from Los Angeles, desperate to stop him.

It was too late.

By the time they arrived, Mr. Rodger had killed six people, the police said, and had died of a self-inflicted gunshot — a display of violence that stunned the quiet ocean-side college town.

In truth, Mr. Rodger had been planning his “Day of Retribution,” as he called it in that manifesto, for three years, from the summer day that he moved into a small apartment with two roommates, the first time he lived away from home. He had arrived hoping to escape the sexual rejections that he had raged against through adolescence, but as he simmered at the happy couples walking down the streets, his thoughts turned from starting a new life to exacting revenge.

“I couldn’t believe how wrong everything was turning out,” Mr. Rodger, 22, wrote in the manifesto he sent shortly before stabbing to death three people in his apartment, including his two roommates, whom he described as “repulsive.”…

From the Manifesto titled “My Twisted World: The Story of Elliot Rodger” Page 1:

…On the morning of July 24th, 1991, in a London hospital, I was born. I breathed in the first breath of life as I entered this world, weighing only 5.4 pounds. My parents must have been filled with happiness and pride that day. They had just witnessed the birth of their first child, and they named me Elliot Oliver Robertson Rodger.

I was born to young parents. My father, Peter Rodger, was only 26 when he impregnated my mother, Chin, who was 30. Peter is of British descent, hailing from the prestigious Rodger family; a family that was once part of the wealthy upper classes before they lost all of their fortune during the Great Depression. My father’s father, George Rodger, was a renowned photojournalist who had taken very famous photographs during the Second World War, though he failed to reacquire the family’s lost fortune. My mother is of Chinese descent. She was born in Malaysia, and moved to England at a young age to work as a nurse on several film sets, where she became friends with very important individuals in the film industry, including George Lucas and Steven Spielberg. She even dated George Lucas for a short time.

My mother and father had been married for a couple of years before my mother became pregnant with me. In fact, her pregnancy was an accident. She had been taking pills to prevent pregnancy, but when she visited my father on one of his film sets, she fell ill and the medication she took for that illness thwarted the effect of the anti-pregnancy pills, and so their lovemaking during this period resulted in my life.

Only a couple of months after my birth, I went on my first vacation. My parents took me on a boat to France. I was already a traveler! Of course, I have no memories of this trip. My mother said that I cried a lot…

From pages 17-18:

…When I became aware of this common social structure at my school, I also started to examine myself and compare myself to these “cool kids”. I realized, with some horror, that I wasn’t “cool” at all. I had a dorky hairstyle, I wore plain and uncool clothing, and I was shy and unpopular. I was always described as the shy boy in the past, but I never really thought my shyness would affect me in a negative way, until this point.

This revelation about the world, and about myself, really decreased my self-esteem. On top of this was the feeling that I was different because I am of mixed race. I am half White, half Asian, and this made me different from the normal fully-white kids that I was trying to fit in with.

I envied the cool kids, and I wanted to be one of them. I was a bit frustrated at my parents for not shaping me into one of these kids in the past. They never made an effort to dress me in stylish clothing or get me a good-looking haircut. I had to make every effort to rectify this. I had to adapt.

My first act was to ask my parents to allow me to bleach my hair blonde. I always envied and admired blonde-haired people, they always seemed so much more beautiful. My parents agreed to let me do it, and father took me to a hair salon on Mulholland Drive in Woodland Hills. Choosing that hair salon was a bad decision, for they only bleached the top of my head blonde. When I indignantly questioned why they didn’t make all of my hair blonde, they said that I was too young for a full bleaching. I was furious. I thought I looked so silly with blonde hair at the top of my head and black hair at the sides and back. I dreaded going to school the next day with this weird new hair.

When I arrived at school the next day, I was intensely nervous. Before class started, I stood in a corner franticly trying to figure out how I would go about revealing this to everyone. Trevor was the first one to notice it, and he came up to me and patted my head, saying that it was very “cool”. Well, that was exactly what I wanted. My new hair turned out to be quite a spectacle, and for a few days I got a hint of the attention and admiration I so craved…

From page 84:

…My first week turned out to be very unpleasant, leaving a horrific first impression of my new life in Santa Barbara. My two housemates were nice, but they kept inviting over this friend of theirs named Chance. He was black boy who came over all the time, and I hated his cocksure attitude. Inevitably, a vile incident occurred between me and him. I was eating a meal in the kitchen when he came over and started bragging to my housemates about his success with girls. I couldn’t stand it, so I proceeded to ask them all if they were virgins. They all looked at me weirdly and said that they had lost their virginity long ago. I felt so inferior, as it reminded me of how much I have missed out in life. And then this black boy named Chance said that he lost his virginity when he was only thirteen! In addition, he said that the girl he lost his virginity to was a blonde white girl! I was so enraged that I almost splashed him with my orange juice. I indignantly told him that I did not believe him, and then I went to my room to cry. I cried and cried and cried, and then I called my mother and cried to her on the phone.

How could an inferior, ugly black boy be able to get a white girl and not me? I am beautiful, and I am half white myself. I am descended from British aristocracy. He is descended from slaves. I deserve it more. I tried not to believe his foul words, but they were already said, and it was hard to erase from my mind. If this is actually true, if this ugly black filth was able to have sex with a blonde white girl at the age of thirteen while I’ve had to suffer virginity all my life, then this just proves how ridiculous the female gender is. They would give themselves to this filthy scum, but they reject ME? The injustice!…

…His parents’ frantic trip to Isla Vista was just one missed chance to avert the tragedy. In this case, the parents’ emergency call to the police and their arrival came well after the killing spree was over.

Only weeks earlier, in late April, deputies from the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office had stopped by Mr. Rodger’s apartment at the request of state mental health officials, acting on an expression of concern by his mother. They left after a calm and polite Mr. Rodger assured them that there was nothing to worry about. The officers reported that Mr. Rodger was shy and had told them that he was having difficulties in his social life.

That gave them little ground on which to act, under California law. Because Mr. Rodger was never institutionalized because of his emotional problems, he was able to legally purchase the weaponry he used in the shooting…

Read the entire article here. Read Rodgers’s manifesto here.

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More Hispanics Declaring Themselves White

Posted in Articles, Census/Demographics, Latino Studies, Media Archive, United States on 2014-05-21 15:40Z by Steven

More Hispanics Declaring Themselves White

The New York Times
2014-05-21

Nate Cohn

Hispanics are often described as driving up the nonwhite share of the population. But a new study of census forms finds that more Hispanics are identifying as white.

An estimated net 1.2 million Americans of the 35 million Americans identified in 2000 as of “Hispanic, Latino or Spanish origin,” as the census form puts it, changed their race from “some other race” to “white” between the 2000 and 2010 censuses, according to research presented at an annual meeting of the Population Association of America and reported by Pew Research.

The researchers, who have not yet published their findings, compared individual census forms from the 2000 and 2010 censuses. They found that millions of Americans answered the census questions about race and ethnicity differently in 2000 and 2010. The largest shifts were among Americans of Hispanic origin, who are the nation’s fastest growing ethnic group by total numbers…

…The data provide new evidence consistent with the theory that Hispanics may assimilate as white Americans, like the Italians or Irish, who were not universally considered to be white. It is particularly significant that the shift toward white identification withstood a decade of debate over immigration and the country’s exploding Hispanic population, which might have been expected to inculcate or reinforce a sense of Hispanic identity, or draw attention to divisions that remain between Hispanics and non-Hispanic white Americans. Research suggests that Hispanics who have experienced discrimination are less likely to identify as white…

Read the entire article here.

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G.O.P. Hopeful Finds Tribal Tie Cuts Both Ways

Posted in Articles, Media Archive, Native Americans/First Nation, Politics/Public Policy, United States on 2014-05-04 11:30Z by Steven

G.O.P. Hopeful Finds Tribal Tie Cuts Both Ways

The New York Times
2014-05-03

Jonathan Martin, National Political Correspondent

BARTLESVILLE, Okla.T. W. Shannon will be Oklahoma’s first black senator if he wins the Republican nomination and is elected this November, but the quiet campaign stirring here about Mr. Shannon’s racial loyalties is not aimed at the African-American branch of his family tree.

Mr. Shannon, whose first name is Tahrohon, is a member of the Chickasaw Nation, the most influential tribe in a state where Native Americans are not merely the inheritors of a poignant history but also collectively constitute the state’s largest nongovernment employer outside of Walmart.

Most of those jobs are connected to Oklahoma’s 110-and-counting casinos, which are becoming as familiar here as oil derricks. Yet the gambling revenue that has showered millions on some of the state’s Native Americans has also bred resentment over the tribes’ expanding footprint. Now, as Mr. Shannon vies to make history, he has become both the political beneficiary of the tribes’ newfound wealth and a target for complaints about Native American sovereignty and possible competing loyalties…

Read the entire article here.

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To the Manner Born?

Posted in Articles, Book/Video Reviews, History, Media Archive, United Kingdom on 2014-05-02 01:20Z by Steven

To the Manner Born?

The New York Times
2014-05-01

Manohla Dargis

‘Belle’ Centers On a Biracial Aristocrat in the 18th Century

No bodices seem to have been harmed, much less ripped, during the making of “Belle,” a period film at once sweeping and intimate, about an 18th-century Englishwoman who transcends her historical moment. Even so, peekaboo bosoms tremble throughout the movie amid the rustle of luxurious gowns and the gasps of polite company as conventions are crushed underfoot. Melodramatic and grounded in history, “Belle” is enough of an old-fashioned entertainment that it could have been made in classic Hollywood. Well, except for one little thing that would have probably given old studio suits apoplexy: The movie’s prettily flouncing title character is biracial.

You meet her as a child, just as she’s being taken by her father, a navy captain, Sir John Lindsay (Matthew Goode), from some shadowy mystery hovel to a large country manor. There, in an elegantly appointed room, the kind that announces the refinement of its inhabitants and whispers their entitlement, Sir John formally claims the child as his own and promptly hands her over to his uncle, Lord Mansfield (Tom Wilkinson, very good), and Lady Mansfield (a dry, funny Emily Watson). The Lord and Lady keep their lips, necks and manners stiff, but take the girl in and raise her as their own — or almost. Soon she’s laughing in the garden, and then she’s a genteel beauty (a fine Gugu Mbatha-Raw) facing life as a black woman in a slave-trading country.

She’s based on Dido Elizabeth Belle (1761-1804), the daughter of an African woman, Maria Bell, who was probably enslaved and maybe captured off a ship by Sir John. The details of their association and Bell’s life are murky, but when Dido was young, Sir John took her to Lord Mansfield, who raised her alongside another grandniece, Elizabeth Murray (played by a strong Sarah Gadon). In one account, Thomas Hutchinson, a governor of Massachusetts, described visiting the family: “a Black came in after dinner and sat with the ladies” and later walked arm in arm with one. “She had a very high cap, and her wool was much frizzled in her neck,” Hutchinson wrote, “but not enough to answer the large curls in fashion. She is neither handsome nor genteel — pert enough.”…

Read the entire review here and watch an anatomy of a scene here.

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