The Ghost of Hendrix, and Fans Who Think I’m White

Posted in Articles, Arts, Autobiography, Media Archive, Passing, United States on 2021-11-04 20:32Z by Steven

The Ghost of Hendrix, and Fans Who Think I’m White

The New York Times
2021-11-03

Tom Morello

Mr. Morello has spent over three decades melding music and political activism as a power guitarist with Rage Against the Machine, Audioslave and Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band, with the acoustic chords of the Nightwatchman and in protests around the country.

In 1965, I literally integrated the town of Libertyville, Ill., at least according to the real estate agent who helped my mom and me find our first apartment.

My Irish-Italian mom had excellent teaching credentials, but the school boards in Northern Illinois made clear that while as a single mother she was welcome to teach in their town, we would have to live elsewhere because we were an interracial family.

I was the interracial part, as my dad is from Kenya. Libertyville, however, was willing to give my mom a shot, with the caveat that the residents of the apartment complex across the street from the school approved. Our helpful real estate agent assured the neighbors that this was no ordinary 1-year-old “Negro” child entering their building, but rather an exotic East African princeling. This false tale haunted me throughout my youth, but it gave my mom and me a toehold among the locals…

Read the entire article here.

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Passing: On crossing the color line

Posted in Articles, History, Media Archive, Passing, United States, Videos on 2021-11-03 15:27Z by Steven

Passing: On crossing the color line

CBS Sunday Morning
CBS News
2021-10-24

Passing can be a gray area that some biracial or multiracial Americans face when navigating questions of identity and social acceptance, while defining the story we tell about ourselves. “CBS Saturday Morning” co-host Michelle Miller talks with Rebecca Hall, Tessa Thompson and Ruth Negga, the director and stars of the new film “Passing,” and with writers Lise Funderburg and Allyson Hobbs, about the social history of passing, and its impact upon perception and power.

It’s been a theme in Hollywood for years, from “Imitation of Life,” to “The Human Stain.” And off-screen, the subject of “passing” – crossing the color line – is just as complex.

“The world perceives me as White, at least visually,” said Chicago lawyer Martina Hone, who has lived her whole life balancing her Black mother’s identity with her European father’s privilege.

“CBS Saturday Morning” co-host Michelle Miller asked, “Have you ever passed at any point in your life?”…

Read the story here.

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Finding Myself in Nella Larsen

Posted in Articles, Arts, Autobiography, Biography, History, Media Archive, Passing on 2021-11-02 22:17Z by Steven

Finding Myself in Nella Larsen

Paris Theater
4 West 58th Street
New York, New York
2021-10-28

Rebecca Hall

Rebecca Hall’s directorial and screenwriting debut Passing is playing at the Paris theater through November 4. The film has been nominated for five Gotham awards, including Breakthrough Director and Best Screenplay for Rebecca Hall.

The elucidation of a family’s history, like the history of a nation, is never straightforward or simple. History after all is a site of struggle and even a mode of obfuscation-memories are revised, edited, doled out in fragments. The truth is stated baldly and then denied, hedged, or partially retracted. The same stories somehow become less and less clear with each repetition. Clarity is elusive, and perhaps its pursuit is even unkind-why probe something so delicate as the past? And when it comes to questions of race, what answers could ever be satisfying?

From the moment that this script I’d written in a kind of fever dream started to become something that might turn into an actual film, the first question was always: Why me? Why this story? I have been circling around the answer to that question for nearly 15 years. The shock of recognition that I felt upon reading Nella Larsen’s novella was deeply confusing to me, enough so that I sat down and wrote my adaptation almost immediately after finishing it, as a way of trying to find out why its hooks were in me so deeply. That encounter with Passing not only produced this film, it also set me off on a journey through my family’s collective memory, its history, and the long story of black people in America

Read the entire article here.

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The Fearlessness of Passing

Posted in Articles, Book/Video Reviews, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, Passing, United States on 2021-11-02 22:02Z by Steven

The Fearlessness of Passing

Dissent
2021-10-27

Charles Taylor

Ruth Negga’s Clare (left) and Tessa Thompson’s Irene in a still from Passing. (Netflix)

Rebecca Hall’s adaptation of Nella Larsen’s 1929 novel continues the author’s exploration of the suffocating strictures of the color line.

Making a movie of Nella Larsen’s 1929 novel Passing, one of the great works of the Harlem Renaissance—and, I’d argue, a great American novel—would be tricky in any era. That the actress Rebecca Hall, making her directing debut, has done a close-to-devastating job of it in this era is a remarkable achievement.

The novel is the story of two girlhood friends who reencounter each other as young, married women, one passing for white and the other firmly settled into the life of Harlem’s black bourgeoisie. Larsen practically invites the careless reader to fall into well-intentioned sociological clichés—in other words, to believe that this is a novel about the tragedy that befalls those who, driven by racist persecution, cross the color line and betray their own.

Actually, the novel is about the absurdity of the color line as a concept, about race as “the thing that bound and suffocated.” For Larsen, the idea that you could betray your race was another way of saying that people should stick to their own kind. It’s the passing Clare, a slim, pale-skinned, heedless beauty, who is Larsen’s heroine. Clare, taken in as a maid by her poor white aunts when her alcoholic father dies, doesn’t decide to pass because she’s oppressed but because she’s shunned by the well-heeled black people among whom she grew up. (In one stinging scene, Clare, already passing, approaches an old school friend whom she recognizes while shopping in Marshall Field’s, only to have the woman cut her dead.) Clare is hungry for life and for pleasure, which she takes as it comes to her. The way in which she crosses back and forth between black and white, between the thrill of a Negro Welfare League dance and white upper-middle-class society, makes a hash of the polite segregation—of both race and class—to which the novel’s other protagonist, Irene, pays obeisance…

Read the entire article here.

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Health scientist Carrie Bourassa on immediate leave after scrutiny of her claim she’s Indigenous

Posted in Articles, Campus Life, Canada, Media Archive, Native Americans/First Nation, Passing on 2021-11-02 20:56Z by Steven

Health scientist Carrie Bourassa on immediate leave after scrutiny of her claim she’s Indigenous

CBC News
2021-11-02

Geoff Leo, Senior Investigative Journalist

At the 2019 TEDx talk in Saskatoon, Carrie Bourassa claimed publicly that she is Métis and Anishnaabe and has suffered the effects of racism. (YouTube.com)

University of Saskatchewan, CIHR place Bourassa on leave over lack of evidence

Carrie Bourassa, a University of Saskatchewan professor and the scientific director of the Indigenous health arm of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), is on leave from both institutions following a weekend of online outrage stemming from CBC’s investigation into her claims to Indigeneity.

Bourassa, who has headed up an Indigenous research lab at the U of S and the CIHR’s Institute of Indigenous Peoples’ Health, has publicly claimed to be Métis, Anishnaabe and Tlingit.

CBC found there was no evidence she was Indigenous, despite her claims many times over the past 20 years. When asked, Bourassa hasn’t offered any genealogical evidence to back up her claims, but in a statement she said two years ago she hired a genealogist to help her investigate her ancestry, and that work continues.

Just last week, after publication of the CBC story, the CIHR issued a statement supporting Bourassa, saying it “values the work of the Institute of Indigenous Peoples’ Health under Dr. Carrie Bourassa’s leadership.” And the U of S also backed her, stating, “The quality of Professor Bourassa’s scholarly work speaks for itself and has greatly benefited the health of communities across Canada.”

However, on Monday, both institutions announced Bourassa was on immediate leave…

Read the entire article here.

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Passing review – Rebecca Hall’s stylish and subtle study of racial identity

Posted in Articles, Book/Video Reviews, Media Archive, Passing, United States on 2021-11-02 19:48Z by Steven

Passing review – Rebecca Hall’s stylish and subtle study of racial identity

The Guardian
2021-10-28

Peter Bradshaw, Guardian Film Critic

Hypnotic … Tessa Thompson and André Holland in Passing. Photograph: Netflix

Hall’s directing debut stars Tessa Thompson and Ruth Negga as friends who are both ‘passing’ for what they are not in an adaptation of Nella Larsen’s 1929 novel

Rebecca Hall makes her directing debut with this intimately disturbing movie, adapted by her from the 1929 novel by Nella Larsen. Irene (Tessa Thompson) and Clare (Ruth Negga) are two women of colour, former school friends who run into each other by chance in an upscale Manhattan hotel in prohibition-era America. They are both light-skinned, but Irene is stunned to realise that her vivacious and now peroxide blonde friend Clare is “passing” for white these days, and that her odious, wealthy white husband John (Alexander Skarsgård) has no idea. As for sober and respectable Irene, she lives with her black doctor husband Brian (André Holland) in Harlem with their two sons and a black maid that she treats a little high-handedly.

There is an almost supernatural shiver in Irene and Clare’s meeting: as if the two women are the ghosts of each other’s alternative life choices. Irene is herself passing for middle class, passing for successful: she has an entrée into modish artistic circles through her friendship with the celebrated white novelist Hugh Wentworth (Bill Camp) who is passing for straight. But there is something else. Clare is also passing for happily married. The dangerously transgressive Clare, for whom this chance meeting has triggered a desperate homesickness for her black identity, demands access to Irene’s life and simperingly makes Brian’s acquaintance…

Read the entire review here.

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Indigenous or pretender?

Posted in Articles, Campus Life, Canada, Native Americans/First Nation, Passing on 2021-11-02 01:59Z by Steven

Indigenous or pretender?

CBC News
2021-10-27

Geoff Leo, Senior Investigative Journalist

Carrie Bourassa, one of the country’s most-esteemed Indigenous health experts, claims to be Métis, Anishinaabe and Tlingit. Some of her colleagues say there’s no evidence of that.

With a feather in her hand and a bright blue shawl and Métis sash draped over her shoulders, Carrie Bourassa made her entrance to deliver a TEDx Talk at the University of Saskatchewan in Saskatoon in September 2019, where she detailed her personal rags-to-riches story.

“My name is Morning Star Bear,” she said, choking up. “I’m just going to say it — I’m emotional.”

The crowd applauded and cheered.

“I’m Bear Clan. I’m Anishinaabe Métis from Treaty Four Territory,” Bourassa said, explaining that she grew up in Regina’s inner city in a dysfunctional family surrounded by addiction, violence and racism…

Read the entire article here.

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I Look White To Many. I’m Black. This Is What White People Say To Me.

Posted in Articles, Autobiography, Media Archive, Passing, United Kingdom on 2021-11-02 01:49Z by Steven

I Look White To Many. I’m Black. This Is What White People Say To Me.

The Huffington Post
2021-09-10

Cheryl Green Rosario, Guest Writer

The author is a fair-skinned Black woman who has been a fly on the wall when white people don’t know anyone of color is looking or listening. COURTESY OF CHERYL GREEN ROSARIO

I’ve been a fly on the wall when white people didn’t know anyone of color was looking or listening.

I am a Black woman who for most of my life has often been mistaken for white. And I’m here to tell you that for four decades white people have openly, even sometimes proudly, expressed their racism to me, usually with a wink and a smile, all while thinking I’m white too.

The incidents pile up, year after year — at a friend’s wedding, when I met a new roommate, at the grocery store, while riding in a taxi, and during innumerable other events from daily life.

As the nation begins, finally, to focus on the social injustice that takes place across this country — from the South where I grew up to the North where I’ve lived for the past 22 years ― I feel the collective pain. Even as a very fair-skinned Black woman with green eyes and light brown hair, I, too, have experienced racism. But I’ve also been a fly on the wall when white people didn’t know anyone of color was looking or listening…

Read the entire article here.

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Passing review: Ruth Negga may well get another Oscar nomination

Posted in Articles, Arts, Book/Video Reviews, Media Archive, Passing, United States on 2021-10-30 01:34Z by Steven

Passing review: Ruth Negga may well get another Oscar nomination

The Irish Times
2021-10-29

Donald Clarke, Chief Film Correspondent

Ruth Negga and Tessa Thompson in Passing

Film Title: Passing
Director: Rebecca Hall
Starring: Tessa Thompson, Ruth Negga, André Holland, Bill Camp, Gbenga Akinnagbe, Antoinette Crowe-Legacy, Alexander Skarsgård
Genre: Drama
Running Time: 98 min

This delicately observed portrait of racial dynamics is worth seeing in the cinema

If you sat down unsure whether you were being taken to another time, the gauzy monochrome and 4:3 aspect ratio would go some way to alleviating any doubt. Rebecca Hall’s take on a key African-American novel shrugs off its modest budget to offer a convincingly transportive vision of Harlem in the 1920s. Marci Rodgers’s costumes capture the prohibition lines without resorting to catwalky inverted-commas. The piano-heavy score from Devonté Hynes leans ever-so-gently on the bridge between ragtime and less jaunty sounds to come.

There is, of course, no reason to set Passing at any other time. Nella Larsen’s book is hardly buried in ancient obscurity. But it is still worth pointing towards the calendar. Any contemporary study of a black woman “passing” for white would move out under very different winds. When largely sympathetic characters here twig that Clare (Ruth Negga), a Chicagoan now married to an unsuspecting white jerk (Alexander Skarsgård), has taken on a Caucasian identity, there is variously surprise, irritation, curiosity, but little sense of shock and nothing you would call outrage. That last emotion is left for the racists. Passing is no longer such an everyday business as it once was (which is not to suggest it doesn’t happen). Any film dealing with such a story in the 21st century would necessarily play at a higher temperature. Hall’s decision to cut a late, explosive use of the N-word in the journey from novel to screenplay – though another remains – confirms how the dynamics have altered…

Read the entire review here.

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‘High Yella:’ A Multiflavored Family Memoir Of Race, Love And Loss

Posted in Articles, Autobiography, Biography, Gay & Lesbian, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, Passing, United States on 2021-10-29 17:05Z by Steven

‘High Yella:’ A Multiflavored Family Memoir Of Race, Love And Loss

Forbes
2021-10-27

Dawn Ennis, Contributor, Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion


Cover of “High Yella” by Steve Majors The University of Georgia Press

“I was born a poor Black child.”

Fans of writer and actor Steve Martin’s early work will recognize those words from his 1979 comedy, The Jerk. Readers of Steve Majors’ powerful family memoir, High Yella, learn early on that the author used this memorable line in a key moment of courtship; An awkward attempt to use humor to explain a childhood marked by racism, shadeism, poverty, abuse, alcoholism, homophobia and the black magic that Black women in his family called “hoodoo.”

“The fact that I was born a poor Black child was just a part of my past,” Majors writes. “The full story of how that poor Black child grew up and escaped his past is wilder and crazier than any screenplay Steve Martin could ever dream up.”

The central part of High Yella involves race, identity and family. Majors, 55, is a light-skinned, cisgender Black gay man from upstate New York who was the youngest of five children, raised Roman Catholic, and married to a cis, white, gay Jewish man. He writes how he “checked boxes” when he needed to, and is perpetually plagued by people who presume to question his identity because he is white-passing. Majors also shares his own challenges—and failings—as a parent, and recounts painful recollections of family dysfunction and strife as a child…

Read the entire interview here.

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