Md. Gov. Larry Hogan and his Korean-born wife, Yumi, are a historic first couple

Posted in Articles, Asian Diaspora, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, United States on 2015-01-24 19:45Z by Steven

Md. Gov. Larry Hogan and his Korean-born wife, Yumi, are a historic first couple

The Washington Post
2015-01-23

Michael S. Rosenwald, Staff Writer

She was a painter displaying her abstract landscapes, a single mother of three daughters who’d grown up on a chicken farm in South Korea. He was a wealthy bachelor with more interest in politics than art who had stopped by the show in suburban Maryland on a whim.

His eyes didn’t gravitate to the paintings.

“I was more interested in the artist than the art,” he said.

He gave her his phone number, but she never called. Still, he didn’t give up. They eventually met again, fell in love and married several years later, in 2004.

They made history this week, moving into the Maryland governor’s mansion as a mixed-race couple in an increasingly diverse state — and as novices in wielding political power. Larry Hogan, a Republican in an overwhelmingly Democratic state, had never held elected office before he won a stunning upset in November…

Read the entire article here.

Tags: , , , , , ,

Where are all the interracial children’s books?

Posted in Articles, Family/Parenting, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, United States on 2015-01-21 21:15Z by Steven

Where are all the interracial children’s books?

The Washington Post
2015-01-20

Nevin Martell

Browsing the shelves of the children’s section at bookstores can be a depressing experience for the parent of an interracial youngster. I’m a mutt mixture Caucasian with roots going back to Western Europe and beyond, while my wife is from Ghana. We are constantly on the lookout for stories featuring characters with whom our interracial son can visually identify. It would just be nice for him to pick up a book and think to himself, “Hey, that little guy looks like me.” Sadly, he doesn’t get to do that very often.

Though there is a growing number of racially diverse characters popping up on picture book pages – and the passionate social media campaign #WeNeedDiverseBooks hopes to inspire even more of them – there is a depressing dearth of interracial ones. This is somewhat surprising given how many families are interracial these days. According to the United States Census Bureau, “interracial or interethnic opposite-sex married couple households grew by 28 percent over the decade from 7 percent in 2000 to 10 percent in 2010.” Additionally, there were 275,500 interracial marriages in 2010 out of a total of 2,096,000. Heck, there’s even a TV show about an interracial family and it’s on a major network – ABC’s “The Fosters.”

This isn’t to say that there aren’t any children’s books starring interracial characters. There are some wonderful options, including “Black, White, Just Right!” by Marguerite W. Davol and illustrated by Irene Trivas, “Black is Brown is Tan” by Arnold Adoff with illustrations by Emily Arnold McCully and Phil Mandelbaum’s “You Be Me, I’ll Be You.” A current favorite is “The Case for Loving: The Fight for Interracial Marriage,” which chronicles the 1967 Supreme Court case Loving v. Virginia, in which a biracial couple successfully challenged the state’s law against interracial marriage…

Read the entire article here.

Tags: , ,

Woman rides in Rose Bowl parade almost 60 years after being snubbed because of her race

Posted in Articles, Arts, Media Archive, United States, Women on 2015-01-02 02:06Z by Steven

Woman rides in Rose Bowl parade almost 60 years after being snubbed because of her race

The Washington Post
2015-01-01

Diana Reese
Overland Park, Kansas

Racism “was a fact of life,” Joan Williams says about 1958, the year she was supposed to ride on a city-sponsored float in the Rose Parade of Pasadena. The 27-year-old account clerk had been named “Miss Crown City,” with all the attendant duties of ribbon-cuttings and appearances at official functions. The city even paid for Williams’ portrait to be painted while she was wearing a tiara, gown and corsage.

“It wasn’t anything I sought,” Williams told me Wednesday. “My name was submitted unbeknownst to me by someone I worked with.”

She was chosen by the judges to represent the city employees. For someone who’d grown up watching the world-famous parade, it was “a joyous occasion.” But she was so light-skinned no one suspected her African-American heritage until a reporter met her dark-skinned husband and children. That was a game-changer in the late 1950s.

As Jet magazine reported, “Mrs. Williams did not ride on a float, because the City of Pasadena neglected to include one in its own parade. Too many others were already entered, explained an official.”

“Once they learned I was African American, I wasn’t the person they wanted representing the city,” Williams said. “I sure didn’t dwell on it because I had a life to live. That was their problem, not my problem.”…

Read the entire article here.

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

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.

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

How America will look in 2060, in 7 graphs

Posted in Articles, Census/Demographics, Media Archive, United States on 2014-12-17 16:22Z by Steven

How America will look in 2060, in 7 graphs

The Washington Post
2014-12-16

Philip Bump

The Census Bureau recently released its 2014 population projections, gaming out the next 45 years of population growth and changes in the United States. For those of us who pay particular attention to the composition of the population (because we are single-mindedly obsessed with the composition of the electorate that results), this is a bonanza of things to pore over. So let’s pore.

Or, actually, let’s first detour. The data collected by the Bureau has changed substantially over time, at first documenting only the white and slave populations of the newly united states. In 1820, the government started collecting data on resident foreigners as immigration increased. By 1870, the Bureau counted whites, blacks, Chinese, Indian (Native American), and people of mixed black and white descent. In 1890, it broke out mixed-race Americans into more categories; in 1930, there were 10 different options.

Today there are five categories of race, per a 1997 directive: “American Indian or Alaska Native, Asian, Black or African American, Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander, and White.” There’s an additional delineation of ethnicity: Hispanic or Latino, and not.

That background is useful because the Bureau’s projections through 2060 includes a look at foreign-born-versus-native-born residents and Hispanic-versus-non-Hispanic residents, which are not the same thing. But we get ahead of ourselves. Back to poring…

Read the entire article here.

Tags: , ,

In Japan’s Okinawa, saving indigenous languages is about more than words

Posted in Anthropology, Articles, Asian Diaspora, Media Archive on 2014-12-01 20:53Z by Steven

In Japan’s Okinawa, saving indigenous languages is about more than words

The Washington Post
2014-11-29

Anna Fifield, Tokyo Bureau Chief

NISHIHARA, Japan — Rising in turn at their wooden desks, the students giggled, squirmed or shuffled as they introduced themselves, some practically in a whisper.

“Waa naamee ya — yaibiin . . . (My name is . . . ).” One by one, the classmates at Okinawa Christian University managed to get out their names, a few confidently, but most of them sheepishly.

Teacher Byron Fija waved his arms around, laughed and tried to encourage the class, which looked like a college group anywhere — some in hoodies, others in baseball caps and one guy with green hair.

But it was clear that the language — Okinawan — didn’t come naturally to most of them.

It’s the biggest of the six main indigenous languages spoken in this subtropical Japanese island chain, once the independent Ryukyu kingdom but now best known for hosting most of the American military bases in Japan…

…Fija is almost evangelical in his promotion of Okinawan, poetically called “uchi-naa-guchi” here.

In addition to teaching, Fija, 45, plays the sanshin, a three-stringed Okinawan banjo, and sings. For five years he hosted a radio show in Okinawan.

He sees the language as intrinsic to his identity. A product of the military occupation, he is the son of an Okinawan mother and an American father, a man he has never heard from.

Fija cites two experiences that motivated him to embrace the local language and culture.

First, he learned to play the sanshin.

“Someone told me that my playing was fine but my Okinawan sounded American, even though I don’t speak any English. Maybe it was because I don’t look Japanese or Okinawan,” Fija said after class, wearing a traditional Japanese outfit with an Okinawan pattern. His Okinawan pronunciation, he said, was the equivalent of a Japanese person singing in English “I rub you” instead of “I love you.”.

Then, in the 1990s, he spent a year or so in Los Angeles, hoping to make it as a rock star. But as he discovered how hard that was, he had an epiphany. Because of his Caucasian looks, he said, he had never really been accepted as Japanese. But with no knowledge of his father and little proficiency in English, he clearly wasn’t American, either…

Read the entire article here.

Tags: , , , , ,

Privilege is like oxygen: You don’t realize it’s there until it’s gone. As white folks, we can’t know what it’s like to go through life without racial privilege because we literally haven’t.

Posted in Excerpts/Quotes on 2014-12-01 19:38Z by Steven

Privilege is like oxygen: You don’t realize it’s there until it’s gone. As white folks, we can’t know what it’s like to go through life without racial privilege because we literally haven’t.

Sally Kohn, “What white people need to know, and do, after Ferguson,” The Washington Post, November 28, 2014. http://www.washingtonpost.com/posteverything/wp/2014/11/28/what-white-people-need-to-know-and-do-after-ferguson/.

Tags: , ,

What white people need to know, and do, after Ferguson

Posted in Articles, Media Archive, Social Science, United States on 2014-11-30 19:13Z by Steven

What white people need to know, and do, after Ferguson

The Washington Post
2014-11-28

Sally Kohn

Benefiting from white privilege is automatic. Defending white privilege is a choice.

In the days before the grand jury’s decision in Ferguson, when Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon decided to impose a pre-emptive state of emergency, a white relative posted on my Facebook page, “Better to be prepared for the worse, than to have racially charged riot. [sic] At that point, no one cares what your political view points are, who you married or what God you pray too, only that you are White and you are Wrong.” This essay is for my cousin and every other white person who is well meaning but somehow feels hopelessly polarized in a racially polarized debate. It doesn’t have to be that way.

When black people are protesting in Ferguson and across America, they’re not protesting against white people. Maybe this seems obvious, but it’s worth stating. In fact, in the case of Ferguson, the protests weren’t (primarily) about one white cop. Black communities are ultimately protesting systems of injustice and inequality that structurally help white people while systematically harming black people. Just because you’re white and therefore generally benefit from those systems doesn’t mean you inherently support those systems — or need to defend them. Benefiting from white privilege is automatic. Defending white privilege is a choice.

Privilege is like oxygen: You don’t realize it’s there until it’s gone. As white folks, we can’t know what it’s like to go through life without racial privilege because we literally haven’t. You may have heard stories about black friends being monitored in department stores or seen the research that black names on resumes get half as many job interviews as white names on the same resumes. Maybe you know that a black man or boy is killed every 28 hours in America by police or vigilantes. Maybe you’ve read the studies on implicit “shooter bias” — how we’re all more likely to pull a simulated trigger on unarmed black men than unarmed white men — and maybe you know that even the most egalitarian Americans harbor unconscious negative attitudes about black people. The studies and the stories are overwhelming. Just this week, police shot and killed a black 12-year-old for holding a BB gun

Read the entire article here.

Tags: , , , ,

Racial divide: It’s a social concept, not a scientific one

Posted in Anthropology, Articles, Book/Video Reviews, Health/Medicine/Genetics, Media Archive on 2014-11-23 17:43Z by Steven

Racial divide: It’s a social concept, not a scientific one

The Washington Post
2014-11-03

Nancy Szokan

Most scientists agree that race is not a biological concept.

As Wikipedia defines it, in an extremely lengthy and extravagantly footnoted entry that surely has been edited and re-edited many times, “Race is a social concept used to categorize humans into large and distinct populations or groups by anatomical, cultural, ethnic, genetic, geographical, historical, linguistic, religious, and/or social affiliation.”

Yet race undoubtedly affects government policies, pervades our social interactions, creates alliances and sets off wars.

We are asked to specify our race (or races) on census forms, medical questionnaires, job applications, college applications, opinion surveys and so on — and the very act of asking the question, sometimes to be answered by just checking a box, can seem to imply that there is a clearly definable, provable answer.

As Robert Wald Sussman puts it in “The Myth of Race: The Troubling Persistence of an Unscientific Idea,” many if not most people would be surprised to learn that race is a social rather than a scientific construct. In his new book, Sussman, a professor of physical anthropology at Washington University in St. Louis, explores how race emerged as a modern social construct, tracing its origins to the Spanish Inquisition and its legacy as a justification for Western imperialism and slavery…

Read the entire review here.

Tags: , , ,

When whites are guilty of colorism

Posted in Articles, Media Archive, Social Science, United States on 2014-11-09 21:51Z by Steven

When whites are guilty of colorism

The Washington Post
2014-11-08

Lance Hannon, Professor
Department of Sociology and Criminology
Villanova University, Villanova, Pennsylvania

Robert DeFina, Professor
Department of Sociology and Criminology
Villanova University, Villanova, Pennsylvania

The 1964 Civil Rights Act prohibits employment discrimination based on “race, color, religion, sex, or national origin.” However, in our public discourse, the second of those categories — “color” — is rarely mentioned as a source of discrimination distinct from “race.” And when “colorism” — discrimination based on skin shade — does get discussed, it is framed almost exclusively as something that occurs only within a racial group — “black-on-black discrimination,” as a 2005 segment of ABC’s “20/20” program put it.

But is that correct? There are two common reasons colorism by whites gets overlooked. First, social science seems to bolster anecdotal evidence that white people see variation in skin tone in a narrower range than African Americans do. Second, given that one’s racial category has always been of such great importance in the United States — think of the infamous “one-drop rule” — any impact of skin-tone differences within racial categories is assumed to be minuscule in comparison. While both of these rationales may seem to make sense on the surface, on close inspection neither provides justification for ignoring clear, real-life consequences of white colorism.

Regarding the first point: Our recent analysis of data from the National Opinion Research Center’s long-running General Social Survey confirms that African Americans and whites judge skin tone quite differently. In particular, white observers perceive the skin tones of black individuals as much darker than black observers do. This is consistent with other data showing that, to use one example, roughly 42 percent of whites describe Tiger Woods as having “dark” or “very dark” skin, while only about 14 percent of African Americans say the same. But such results do not mean that white people are “tone-blind.” In fact, there is solid evidence that white people do indeed see significant variation in African American skin tones. It is just that this variation is concentrated at the darker end of the scale…

Read the entire article here.

Tags: , , , ,