Psychological Lens Reveals Racial Repression at Heart of ‘Passing’

Posted in Articles, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, Passing, United States, Women on 2022-09-06 02:35Z by Steven

Psychological Lens Reveals Racial Repression at Heart of ‘Passing’

University of Kansas
2022-08-31

Rick Hellman
KU News Service

LAWRENCE – While many literary critics have found Nella Larsen’s 1929 novella “Passing” to be frustratingly opaque, and others have concentrated on its themes of same-sex attraction and class consciousness, an essay by a University of Kansas professor of English finds that racial repression is the focus of the novel by analyzing it from a Freudian perspective.

Doreen Fowler said she believed that the shift to a psychological reading explains why the two main characters — Irene, who lives as a Black woman, and Clare, who passes for white — are doubled.

In an article titled “Racial Repression and Doubling in Nella Larsen’s Passing” in the latest edition of The South Atlantic Review, Fowler wrote that the main character, Irene Redfield, “works to erase signs of her black identity — but those signs of blackness return to haunt her in the form of her double, Clare. While many scholars have recognized that Irene is ambivalent about her African American iden­tity and that Clare and Irene are doubled, my original contribution is to link the two. In my reading, Clare is Irene’s uncanny double because she figures the return of Irene’s rejected desire to fully integrate with the black race.”…

Read the entire press release here.

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Afro-Brazilian Jewish Women: Female centaurs transgressing the borderlands

Posted in Anthropology, Brazil, Caribbean/Latin America, Dissertations, Judaism, Media Archive, Religion, Women on 2022-09-06 02:04Z by Steven

Afro-Brazilian Jewish Women: Female centaurs transgressing the borderlands

San Diego State University
Spring 2008
148 pages

Abby Suzanne Gondek

A Thesis Presented to the Faculty of San Diego State University In Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree Master of Arts in Women’s Studies

Once I began my research in the synagogue in Salvador, Brazil, I met men and women of color who considered themselves Jewish, even when the rabbi and other congregants did not. I was especially interested in the stories of the Jewish women of color I met. Their passion for Judaism, desire to raise their children Jewish, and their insistence on claiming both identities – Black and Jewish – in the face of rejection from “white” Jewish communities and non-Jewish Afro-Brazilian communities, as well as their families, spoke to me deeply and I felt compelled to shift the focus of my thesis. I began to ask the question Aurora Levins Morales poses in “The Historian as Curandera,” “‘If women are assumed to be the most important people in the story, how will that change the questions we ask?’”

Because Brazil has consistently made efforts to make Jews into symbols of otherness and at the same time rhetorically valued the “mulatto” identity as a symbol of brasilidade (“Brazilianness”), Jews are seen as foreign parasites, light-skinned Blacks are portrayed as symbols of “authentic” Brazilian identity, dark-skinned Blacks are invisible, and Jews and Blacks are irreparably separated from each other. In addition, the rhetorical valuation of the “mulata” and the devaluation of the Jew, places the Black Jewish women I interviewed, who fit into the “ mulata” category because they are lighter-skinned black women, in between what is symbolically valued and devalued in Brazil, literally in the border between “us” and “them.”

Moacyr Scliar’s use of the centaur to describe Brazilian Jews’ position in the borderlands and Gloria Anzaldua’s use of the image of women “caught in the crossfire” are both transformed by the inclusion of Misty Anderson’s exploration of the transgressive meanings of the woman centaur. The Afro-Brazilian Jewish women I interviewed are spiritual, religious, sexual, and racial transgressors. They are “caught in the crossfire” between multiple communities and identities, but they assert their agency to break the barriers that surround them, to live how they want to live.

Read the entire dissertation here.

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Racial Repression and Doubling in Nella Larsen’s Passing

Posted in Articles, Identity Development/Psychology, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, Passing, United States on 2022-09-04 03:06Z by Steven

Racial Repression and Doubling in Nella Larsen’s Passing

South Atlantic Review
Volume 87, Number 1, Spring 2022

Doreen Fowler, Professor of English
University of Kansas

Critics of Passing have often observed that the novel seems to avoid engagement with the problem of racial inequality in the United States, and Claudia Tate goes so far as to write that “race … is merely a mechanism for setting the story in motion” (598). In the apparent absence of race as the novel’s subject, scholars have identified class or lesbian attraction as the novel’s central preoccupation. (1) While same sex attraction and class are certainly concerns of the novel, I would argue that critics have overlooked the centrality of race in the novel because the subject of Passing is racial repression; that is, a complete solidarity with an oppressed, racialized people is the repressed referent, and, for that reason, race scarcely appears. As a novel about passing, Larsen’s subject is a refusal to fully identify with African Americans, but Larsen’s critique is not only directed at members of the black community who pass for white; rather, Passing explores how race is repressed in the United States among both whites and some members of what Irene refers to as “Negro society” (157). Throughout the text, darkness is blanketed by whiteness. Even the word black or Negro seems to be nearly banished from the text. As I will show, the novel explores how an association with a black identity is repressed by many characters, including Brian, Jack Bellew, Gertrude, and other members of Harlem society, but Irene Redfield, the central consciousness of the novel, through whose mind events are perceived and filtered, is the primary exponent of racial repression. Jacquelyn McLendon astutely observes that Irene Redfield “lives in constant imitation of whites” (97). (2) Building on this observation, I argue that Irene, who desires safety above all, identifies safety with whiteness and represses a full identification with the black community out of a refusal of the abjection that whites project on black people. For this reason, Irene not only imitates whites in her upper-class bourgeois life, she, like a person passing for white, works to erase signs of her black identity–but those signs of blackness return to haunt her in the form of her double, Clare. While many scholars have recognized that Irene is ambivalent about her African American identity and that Clare and Irene are doubled, my original contribution is to link the two. In my reading, Clare is Irene’s uncanny double because she figures the return of Irene’s rejected desire to fully integrate with the black race.

In this essay, I propose that Larsen turns to Freudian theory to analyze the psychological dimension of racial repression. As Thadious Davis observes, Larsen was “very much aware of Freud, Jung, and their works” (329), and the cornerstone of Freud’s theory is repression. According to Freud, “the essence of repression lies simply in turning something away, and keeping it at a distance from the conscious” (“Repression,” SE 14:147). Repression, then, is a form of self-censorship, which occurs, Freud explains, when an instinct is driven underground because the satisfaction of that desire…

Read or purchase the article here.

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Growing up with a Jewish mom and a famous dad he never knew — the jazz musician Roy Ayers

Posted in Articles, Autobiography, Biography, Judaism, Media Archive, Religion, United States on 2022-09-04 02:48Z by Steven

Growing up with a Jewish mom and a famous dad he never knew — the jazz musician Roy Ayers

Forward
2022-08-15

TaRessa Stovall

Author Nabil Ayers, left; his father, jazz musician Roy Ayers, right. Courtesy of Nabil Ayers (author photo and book cover); and Scott Dudelson/Getty Images (Roy Ayers photo)

Nabil Ayers’ memoir reflects on family, identity and his journey to connect with a Black father who was ‘really just DNA’

Nabil Ayers carries the surname of a famous father he barely knows, except in the ubiquitous music of Roy Ayers – most famously in the 1976 jazz-soul-funk album by that name featuring the hit “Everybody Loves the Sunshine.” For the younger Ayers, it pops up to surprise him when he least expects it.

Flashback to 1970, when Louise Braufman, a white Jewish former ballerina working as a waitress in New York took one look at the rising African American jazz composer and vibraphonist and thought she’d have a baby with him.

After a few casual dates, she asked Roy Ayers and he agreed, cautioning her that his career was his priority, and he wasn’t available for a serious relationship or any form of parenting.

Nabil Ayers was born of that union and grew up with a strong sense of self, despite his father’s absence. His new memoir, “My Life in the Sunshine: Searching for My Father and Discovering My Family,” explores his unconventional but richly diverse childhood, his own rise in the music industry and the search to connect with his father, which led to discovering paternal Black half-siblings and an enslaved ancestor…

Read the entire article here.

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Meghan Markle, colorism and the archetype of the ‘tragic mulatto’

Posted in Articles, Media Archive, United Kingdom, United States, Women on 2022-09-04 02:15Z by Steven

Meghan Markle, colorism and the archetype of the ‘tragic mulatto’

The Washington Post
2022-09-04

Karen Attiah, Columnist

Meghan Markle in New York on Sept. 23. (Seth Wenig/AP)

Aug. 31 marked the 25th anniversary of the death of Princess Diana in a car crash in Paris in 1997. Also killed were her Egyptian lover, Dodi Al Fayed, and their driver, who was trying to evade a horde of photo-seeking paparazzi chasing them.

Diana was White female innocence personified — “Shy Di,” who had the sympathy of many women who faced unhappy marriages inflamed by adultery and unwelcoming in-laws. As the years went on, Diana’s story became about her attempts to use both her glamour and relatability to break out of the confining box of the British royal family.

It’s probably not a coincidence, then, that Meghan Markle chose last month to launch “Archetypes,” a podcast that aims to explore the stereotypes and boxes that societies put women in.

Which led me to think about the meaning of Markle’s saga with the royal family.

In a conversation on “Archetypes” with biracial singer Mariah Carey, Markle discussed how she was made more aware of the shifting goal posts of race. “I think for us, it’s so different because we’re light-skinned,” she said. “You’re not treated as a Black woman. You’re not treated as a White woman. You sort of fit in between.”…

Read the entire article here.

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Racial Innocence: Unmasking Latino Anti-Black Bias and the Struggle for Equality

Posted in Books, Latino Studies, Law, Media Archive, Monographs, Politics/Public Policy, Social Justice, Social Science, United States on 2022-08-25 01:05Z by Steven

Racial Innocence: Unmasking Latino Anti-Black Bias and the Struggle for Equality

Beacon Press
2022-08-23
208 pages
5.5 x 8.5 Inches
Hardcover ISBN: ISBN: 978-080702013-5

Tanya Katerí Hernández, Archibald R. Murray Professor of Law
Fordham University School of Law, New York, New York

The first comprehensive book about anti-Black bias in the Latino community that unpacks the misconception that Latinos are “exempt” from racism due to their ethnicity and multicultural background.

Racial Innocence will challenge what you thought about racism and bias, and demonstrate that it’s possible for a historically marginalized group to experience discrimination and also be discriminatory. Racism is deeply complex, and law professor and comparative race relations expert Tanya Katerí Hernández exposes “the Latino racial innocence cloak” that often veils Latino complicity in racism. As Latinos are the second largest ethnic group in the US, this revelation is critical to dismantling systemic racism. Based on interviews, discrimination case files, and civil rights law, Hernández reveals Latino anti-Black bias in the workplace, the housing market, schools, places of recreation, criminal justice, and in Latino families.

By focusing on racism perpetrated by communities outside those of White non-Latino people, Racial Innocence brings to light the many Afro-Latino and African American victims of anti-Blackness at the hands of other people of color. Through exploring the interwoven fabric of discrimination and examining the cause of these issues, we can begin to move toward a more egalitarian society.

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The Portable Anna Julia Cooper

Posted in Anthologies, Autobiography, Biography, Books, Media Archive, Social Justice, United States, Women on 2022-08-25 01:04Z by Steven

The Portable Anna Julia Cooper

Penguin Classics (an imprint of Penguin Random House)
2022-08-09
592 pages
5-1/16 x 7-3/4
Paperback ISBN: 9780143135067
Ebook ISBN: 9780525506713
Audiobook ISBN: 9780593457993

Anna Julia Cooper (1858-1964)

Edited by:

Shirley Moody-Turner, Associate Professor of English and African American Studies
Pennsylvania State University, University Park, Pennsylvania

A collection of essential writings from the iconic foremother of Black women’s intellectual history, feminism, and activism, who helped pave the way for modern social justice movements like Black Lives Matter and Say Her Name

The Portable Anna Julia Cooper brings together, for the first time, Anna Julia Cooper’s major collection of essays, A Voice from the South, along with several previously unpublished poems, plays, journalism and selected correspondences, including over thirty previously unpublished letters between Anna Julia Cooper and W. E. B. Du Bois. The Portable Anna Julia Cooper will introduce a new generation of readers to an educator, public intellectual, and community activist whose prescient insights and eloquent prose underlie some of the most important developments in modern American intellectual thought and African American social and political activism.

Recognized as the iconic foremother of Black women’s intellectual history and activism, Cooper (1858-1964) penned one of the most forceful and enduring statements of Black feminist thought to come of out of the nineteenth century. Attention to her work has grown exponentially over the years–her words have been memorialized in the US passport and, in 2009, she was commemorated with a US postal stamp. Cooper’s writings on the centrality of Black girls and women to our larger national discourse has proved especially prescient in this moment of Black Lives Matter, Say Her Name, and the recent protests that have shaken the nation.

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Bright: A Memoir

Posted in Autobiography, Books, Media Archive, Monographs, United States on 2022-08-25 01:03Z by Steven

Bright: A Memoir

Sarabande Books
2022-08-09
200 pages
Paperback ISBN: 978-1946448927

Kiki Petrosino, Professor of Poetry
University of Virginia

Bright: A Memoir, the first full-length essay collection from acclaimed poet Kiki Petrosino, is a work of lyric nonfiction, offering glimpses of a life lived between cultural worlds. “Bright,” a slang term used to describe light-skinned people of interracial American ancestry, becomes the starting point for an extended meditation on the author’s upbringing in a mixed Black and Italian American family. Alternating moments of memoir, archival research, close reading and reverie, this work contemplates the enduring, deeply personal legacies of enslavement and racial discrimination in America. Situated at the luminous crossroads where public and private histories collide, Bright asks important questions about love, heritage, identity and creativity.

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Sovereign Joy: Afro-Mexican Kings and Queens, 1539-1640

Posted in Anthropology, Books, Caribbean/Latin America, History, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, Mexico, Monographs, Religion on 2022-08-25 01:01Z by Steven

Sovereign Joy: Afro-Mexican Kings and Queens, 1539-1640

Cambridge University Press
June 2022
Hardback ISBN: 9781316514382
eBook ISBN: 9781009086905

Miguel A. Valerio, Assistant Professor of Spanish
Washington University, St Louis, Missouri

Sovereign Joy explores the performance of festive black kings and queens among Afro-Mexicans between 1539 and 1640. This fascinating study illustrates how the first African and Afro-creole people in colonial Mexico transformed their ancestral culture into a shared identity among Afro-Mexicans, with particular focus on how public festival participation expressed their culture and subjectivities, as well as redefined their colonial condition and social standing. By analyzing this hitherto understudied aspect of Afro-Mexican Catholic confraternities in both literary texts and visual culture, Miguel A. Valerio teases out the deeply ambivalent and contradictory meanings behind these public processions and festivities that often re-inscribed structures of race and hierarchy. Were they markers of Catholic subjecthood, and what sort of corporate structures did they create to project standing and respectability? Sovereign Joy examines many of these possibilities, and in the process highlights the central place occupied by Africans and their descendants in colonial culture. Through performance, Afro-Mexicans affirmed their being: the sovereignty of joy, and the joy of sovereignty.

Table of Contents

  • List of Figures
  • List of Tables
  • Preface
  • Acknowledgments
  • Abbreviations
  • Introduction: Sovereign Joy
  • 1. ‘With their king and queen’: Early Colonial Mexico, the Origins of Festive Black Kings and Queens, and the Birth of the Black Atlantic
  • 2. ‘Rebel Black Kings (and Queens)’?: Race, Colonial Psychosis, and Afro-Mexican Kings and Queens
  • 3. ‘Savage Kings’ and Baroque Festival Culture: Afro-Mexicans in the Celebration of the Beatification of Ignatius of Loyola
  • 4. ‘Black and Beautiful’: Afro-Mexican Women Performing Creole Identity
  • Conclusion: Where did the black court go?
  • Appendix
  • Bibliography
  • Index
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Without Warning and Only Sometimes: Scenes from an Unpredictable Childhood

Posted in Autobiography, Books, Media Archive, Monographs, United Kingdom on 2022-08-25 00:59Z by Steven

Without Warning and Only Sometimes: Scenes from an Unpredictable Childhood

Tinder Press (an imprint of Headline Publishing Group)
2022-08-18
304 pages
222 x 138 mm
Hardback ISBN: 9781472284839

Kit de Waal

From the award-winning author of My Name is Leon, The Trick to Time and Supporting Cast comes a childhood memoir set to become a classic: stinging, warm-hearted, and true.

Kit de Waal grew up in a household of opposites and extremes. Her haphazard mother rarely cooked, forbade Christmas and birthdays, worked as a cleaner, nurse and childminder sometimes all at once and believed the world would end in 1975. Meanwhile, her father stuffed barrels full of goodies for his relatives in the Caribbean, cooked elaborate meals on a whim and splurged money they didn’t have on cars, suits and shoes fit for a prince. Both of her parents were waiting for paradise. It never came.

Caught between three worlds, Irish, Caribbean and British in 1960s Birmingham, Kit and her brothers and sisters knew all the words to the best songs, caught sticklebacks in jam jars and braved hunger and hellfire until they could all escape.

Without Warning and Only Sometimes is a story of an extraordinary childhood and how a girl who grew up in house where the Bible was the only book on offer went on to discover a love of reading that inspires her to this day.

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