Why celebrating ‘mixed-race beauty’ has its problematic side

Posted in Articles, Communications/Media Studies, Media Archive, United Kingdom, United States on 2021-04-19 17:20Z by Steven

Why celebrating ‘mixed-race beauty’ has its problematic side

The Guardian
2021-04-08

Natalie Morris


Kim Kardashian West at a Paris Fashion Week event on 2 March 2020. Photograph: Marc Piasecki/WireImage

The trend personified by the Kardashians is driven by the aesthetics of ambiguity – and proximity to whiteness

I was insecure about how I looked when I was younger. My hair was frizzy and embarrassingly enormous. My bum stuck out too much. My lips were too big. My thighs were too big.

Everything about me – specifically my racialised features as a Black mixed woman – felt “too much”. I remember the distinct feeling of wanting to shrink myself, melt myself down into something neater, smaller, sleeker – which is how I saw my white friends, and the beautiful white people on TV.

Then, in my early 20s, soon after moving to London from my home in Manchester, I began to notice a shift in how beauty was being represented. Suddenly, faces, hair and bodies that looked like mine were plastered on shop windows, grinning down from billboards, smizing (smiling with their eyes) from the pages of magazines. Every other TV ad featured mixed models or an interracial family.

White influencers began plumping their lips, baking their skin, braiding their hair, even undergoing invasive surgical procedures to create curves where none existed. The things about myself I had wanted to disguise or alter in my youth were now in vogue – and I struggled to get my head around that. How did it become “trendy” to look like me? And should I feel pleased about it?…

Read the entire article here.

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Meghan Markle, The Royal Family, Right Wing Media Animus and The Specter of Deeply Entrenched Racism!

Posted in Articles, Communications/Media Studies, Media Archive, United Kingdom, United States on 2021-03-12 23:55Z by Steven

Meghan Markle, The Royal Family, Right Wing Media Animus and The Specter of Deeply Entrenched Racism!

Medium
2021-03-11

Elwood Watson, Ph.D., Professor of African American and Gender Studies, Post-WWII U.S. History
East Tennessee State University

It didn’t take long for the right-wing media, here in America and in Britain, to gin up their propaganda/outrage machine towards Meghan Markle, better known as The Duchess of Sussex. “Unreasonable,” “entitled,” “ungrateful,” “spoiled,” “Liar! Fake Outrage!” “Fights, Camera, Action,” “Megxile,” “So Who is The Royal Racist?” and so on. Hell, perennial Meghan Markle antagonist and fierce critic, Piers Morgan, literally screamed and stomped off of the set of the program Good Morning Britain. It was a meltdown of epic proportions for all to see.

They were savvy enough not to refer to her as “uppity,” a word reserved for Black people who anger racist, White people by taking them out of their comfort zones. These are the Black folks who upset White bigots by “doing their own thing on their own terms” and, in essence, by telling such Whites to “Go to hell!” Some in the right-wing media would have liked to have called her a “n*gger bitch,” though they know that would have resulted in some consequences, even in our current climate of over racial animus…

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The Performance of Racial Passing

Posted in Articles, Communications/Media Studies, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, Passing, United States on 2021-03-08 01:47Z by Steven

The Performance of Racial Passing

The New York Times Style Magazine
2021-03-02

Brit Bennett


The author Nella Larsen, photographed in 1934 by Carl Van Vechten. Carl Van Vechten, ©Van Vechten Trust, Courtesy of the Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Yale University

Though Nella Larsen’s classic 1929 novel is understood to be a tragedy, it also exposes race to be something of a farce.

This article is part of T’s Book Club, a series of articles and events dedicated to classic works of American literature. Click here to R.S.V.P. to a virtual conversation, led by Brit Bennett, about “Passing,” to be held on March 9.

There’s a scene in the 1959 melodramatic film “Imitation of Life” that I have seen dozens of times, but it’s not the one you’re probably imagining: the climatic funeral scene where Sarah Jane Johnson, a young Black woman passing for white, flings herself onto the casket of the dark-skinned mother she has spent the entire film disowning. Instead, the scene that sticks with me is halfway into the movie, when Sarah Jane meets up with her white boyfriend, who has secretly discovered that she is Black. “Is your mother a nigger?” he sneers, before beating her in an alley.

I’m not proud to admit that in elementary school, my best friend and I used to watch this scene over and over again, not because we thought it was tragic, but because we found it funny. The frenetic music in the background, the melodramatic slaps, Sarah Jane’s slow crumple to the asphalt. We knew we were wrong to laugh, but we were too young to take much seriously, let alone a character like Sarah Jane, whom we found more pitiful than pitiable. We’d watched her mope through the whole movie about not wanting to be Black. Well, fine. Go see how she likes it over there.

In a strange way, the beating scene itself is almost structured like a joke. Part of the pleasure of a passing narrative is watching the passer fool her audience; in this scene, however, the audience is aware while the passer is not. Sarah Jane asks her boyfriend to run away together, the boyfriend pretends to consider it. He only has one question: Is it true? Sarah Jane laughs, unsuspecting. Is what true? But of course, we already know the punchline…

Read the entire article here.

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Still the tragic mulatto? Manufacturing multiracialization in magazine media, 1961–2011

Posted in Articles, Communications/Media Studies, Media Archive, Social Science, United States on 2021-02-13 23:01Z by Steven

Still the tragic mulatto? Manufacturing multiracialization in magazine media, 1961–2011

Ethnic and Racial Studies
Volume 42, 2019 – Issue 4: Special Issue: The mechanisms of racialization beyond the black/white binary
pages 645-665
DOI: 10.1080/01419870.2017.1380212

Sheena K. Gardner, Assistant Research Professor
Mississippi State University
Social Research Center

Matthew W. Hughey, Professor of Sociology
University of Connecticut

On the heels of the 2000 US Census allowance of multiracial categorization and with rising mainstream discussion of multiracial heritage, questions over the meanings of multiracialism are quite prevalent. Scholars have highlighted how mainstream-oriented and black-oriented media structure (multi)racial conflicts, concepts, and categories. However, sociological analysis has neither examined qualitative differences and nuance among multiracial-oriented media sources nor specified the precise qualitative themes, frames, and discourse of that representation across time and media format. A content analysis of mainstream-, black-, and multiracial-oriented magazine articles demonstrates how varied media sources differently drew upon, resisted, and reproduced distinct understandings of multiracialism to reproduce the dominance of the “Tragic Mulatto” trope. The implications for this study illuminate the import of multiracial self-esteem, the intersection of conservative political movements and black interest groups in the fight for and against a multiracial movement, and the paradoxical role of anti-black stereotypes in multiracial representations.

Read or purchase the article here.

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Race and Media: Critical Approaches

Posted in Anthologies, Books, Communications/Media Studies, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, United States on 2021-01-21 15:50Z by Steven

Race and Media: Critical Approaches

New York University Press
December 2020
320 pages
6.00 x 9.00 in
11 b/w illustrations
Hardcover ISBN: 9781479895779
Paperback ISBN: 9781479889310

Edited by:

Lori Kido Lopez, Associate Professor in Media and Cultural Studies
University of Wisconsin, Madison

A foundational collection of essays that demonstrate how to study race and media

From graphic footage of migrant children in cages to #BlackLivesMatter and #OscarsSoWhite, portrayals and discussions of race dominate the media landscape. Race and Media adopts a wide range of methods to make sense of specific occurrences, from the corporate portrayal of mixed-race identity by 23andMe to the cosmopolitan fetishization of Marie Kondo. As a whole, this collection demonstrates that all forms of media—from the sitcoms we stream to the Twitter feeds we follow—confirm racism and reinforce its ideological frameworks, while simultaneously giving space for new modes of resistance and understanding.

In each chapter, a leading media scholar elucidates a set of foundational concepts in the study of race and media—such as the burden of representation, discourses of racialization, multiculturalism, hybridity, and the visuality of race. In doing so, they offer tools for media literacy that include rigorous analysis of texts, ideologies, institutions and structures, audiences and users, and technologies. The authors then apply these concepts to a wide range of media and the diverse communities that engage with them in order to uncover new theoretical frameworks and methodologies. From advertising and music to film festivals, video games, telenovelas, and social media, these essays engage and employ contemporary dialogues and struggles for social justice by racialized communities to push media forward.

Contributors include: Mary Beltrán, Meshell Sturgis, Ralina L. Joseph, Dolores Inés Casillas, Jennifer Lynn Stoever, Jason Kido Lopez, Peter X Feng, Jacqueline Land, Mari Castañeda, Jun Okada, Amy Villarejo, Aymar Jean Christian, Sarah Florini, Raven Maragh-Lloyd, Sulafa Zidani, Lia Wolock, Meredith D. Clark, Jillian M. Báez, Miranda J. Brady, Kishonna L. Gray, and Susan Noh.

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That Middle World: Race, Performance, and the Politics of Passing

Posted in Books, Communications/Media Studies, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, Monographs, Passing, United States on 2020-10-11 02:38Z by Steven

That Middle World: Race, Performance, and the Politics of Passing

University of North Carolina Press
October 2020
242 pages
6.125 x 9.25, 10 halftones, 1 fig
Paperback ISBN: 978-1-4696-5957-2
Hardcover ISBN: 978-1-4696-5956-5
eBook ISBN: 978-1-4696-5958-9

Julia S. Charles, Assistant Professor of English
Auburn University, Auburn, Alabama

In this study of racial passing literature, Julia S. Charles highlights how mixed-race subjects invent cultural spaces for themselves—a place she terms that middle world—and how they, through various performance strategies, make meaning in the interstices between the Black and white worlds. Focusing on the construction and performance of racial identity in works by writers from the antebellum period through Reconstruction, Charles creates a new discourse around racial passing to analyze mixed-race characters’ social objectives when crossing into other racialized spaces. To illustrate how this middle world and its attendant performativity still resonates in the present day, Charles connects contemporary figures, television, and film—including Rachel Dolezal and her Black-passing controversy, the FX show Atlanta, and the musical Show Boat—to a range of nineteenth- and early twentieth-century literary texts. Charles’s work offers a nuanced approach to African American passing literature and examines how mixed-race performers articulated their sense of selfhood and communal belonging.

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On Jessica Krug and Mixed Race Identity

Posted in Articles, Communications/Media Studies, Media Archive, Passing, United States, Women on 2020-09-10 01:27Z by Steven

On Jessica Krug and Mixed Race Identity

Medium
2020-09-08

Josephine

The revelation in fall 2020 that Jessica Krug, a white American woman, just like Rachel Dolezal before her, spent years holding herself out as Black and Black Latina woman made us all cringe. Krug took pains to make her skin appear bronzed, she dressed in form-fitting clothing, and kept her hair dyed dark black, adding in curly or wavy texture for good measure. We all remember Dolezal’s kinky textured blonde hair and braids that gave her a distinctly ‘mixed race’ look. These women hogged the limelight and took employment and community outreach opportunities from Black women.

Their masquerade has prompted a conversation within the Black and Latinx communities around colorism: the way that light-skinned, mixed race, and white-passing Black women seem to get opportunities that are not available to dark-skinned Black women.

As long as I can remember, American movies with a Black man as the protagonist invariably had him fall in love with a Black woman who appeared mixed race. As a mixed race woman, I noticed this, and I could see how unfair it was: the subtle message was that I would be accepted as beautiful in the black community. Looking back, I see how those same films and series made dark-skinned women question their worth.

Remember Dorothy Dandridge’s ‘exotic’ beauty? We wonder why black women feel pressure to straighten their hair and lighten their skin, but in popular culture, we have all been conditioned to see light-skinned women as the only presentable face of black womanhood. The use of mixed race women as the face of blackness has long left out the majority of Black women who have a beauty that is not contingent on detectable quantum of white blood…

Read the entire article here.

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Journalist Quits Kenosha Paper in Protest of Its Jacob Blake Rally Coverage

Posted in Articles, Communications/Media Studies, Media Archive, Social Justice, United States on 2020-09-03 18:29Z by Steven

Journalist Quits Kenosha Paper in Protest of Its Jacob Blake Rally Coverage

The New York Times
2020-08-31

Marc Tracy


The journalist Daniel J. Thompson resigned in protest from his job at The Kenosha News after objecting to its coverage of a rally in support of Jacob Blake. Daniel J. Thompson

Daniel Thompson, an editor at The Kenosha News, resigned over a headline that highlighted a speaker who made a threat during a peaceful protest.

A journalist resigned on Saturday from his job at The Kenosha News after objecting to the headline of an article that chronicled a rally in support of Jacob Blake, a Black man who was shot seven times in the back by a white Kenosha police officer.

The journalist, Daniel J. Thompson, a digital editor who said he was the only full-time Black staff member at the paper, which covers southeastern Wisconsin, said the headline did not accurately sum up the article and gave a false impression of the rally itself, which he attended. The rally for Mr. Blake, who was left paralyzed by the shooting on Aug. 23, included calls for unity from his father, Jacob Blake Sr., and Wisconsin’s lieutenant governor, Mandela Barnes, the article said.

The headline, which appeared on the Kenosha News website on Saturday, highlighted a remark from one rally participant: “Kenosha speaker: ‘If you kill one of us, it’s time for us to kill one of yours.’” The online version of the article included a 59-second video showing the person who spoke those words, a Black man who was not identified by name.

Mr. Thompson, who joined the paper’s newsroom three years ago, said he found the headline off-base. “The story is about the entire reaction of all the speakers and people in attendance, and that quote is one outlier falling within a flood of positive ones,” he said in an interview…

Read the entire article here.

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Soledad O’Brien: A MeToo Moment for Journalists of Color

Posted in Articles, Communications/Media Studies, Media Archive, United States on 2020-07-05 20:14Z by Steven

Soledad O’Brien: A MeToo Moment for Journalists of Color

The New York Times
2020-07-04

Soledad O’Brien


Soledad O’Brien Roy Rochlin/Getty Images

We’re finally feeling empowered to speak openly about racism in the newsroom.

Every journalist of color has a story.

My first job as an on-air reporter was at KRON in San Francisco from 1993 to 1996. I saw my new colleagues having a lively conversation and wanted to jump in. I discovered that they were talking about the “affirmative-action hire,” who turned out to be me. That’s how they saw me — it didn’t matter that I’d been a researcher and producer at NBC News or that I had gone to Harvard.

At that same job, the managers half-joked that they had taken their lives into their own hands when their morning commute was rerouted through Oakland. I was the bureau chief for the East Bay, which includes Oakland, and they would be signing off on my reports hours later.

So, as other journalists of color in these recent weeks have spoken up about their lack of representation and influence in newsrooms, and how that warps coverage, I know exactly what they’re talking about: how treatment leads to unfair coverage. What’s most disturbing, though, is how much their stories, in 2020, sound like mine from several decades ago…

Read the entire article here.

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Imagining the Mulatta: Blackness in U.S. and Brazilian Media

Posted in Books, Brazil, Caribbean/Latin America, Communications/Media Studies, Media Archive, Monographs, United States, Women on 2020-05-26 20:26Z by Steven

Imagining the Mulatta: Blackness in U.S. and Brazilian Media

University of Illinois Press
May 2020
288 pages
9 color photographs
6 x 9 in.
Cloth ISBN: 978-0-252-04328-4
Paper ISBN: 978-0-252-08520-8

Jasmine Mitchell, Assistant Professor of American Studies and Media Studies
State University of New York, Old Westbury

Mixed-race women and popular culture in Brazil and the United States

Brazil markets itself as a racially mixed utopia. The United States prefers the term melting pot. Both nations have long used the image of the mulatta to push skewed cultural narratives. Highlighting the prevalence of mixed race women of African and European descent, the two countries claim to have perfected racial representation—all the while ignoring the racialization, hypersexualization, and white supremacy that the mulatta narrative creates.

Jasmine Mitchell investigates the development and exploitation of the mulatta figure in Brazilian and U.S. popular culture. Drawing on a wide range of case studies, she analyzes policy debates and reveals the use of mixed-Black female celebrities as subjects of racial and gendered discussions. Mitchell also unveils the ways the media moralizes about the mulatta figure and uses her as an example of an “acceptable” version of blackness that at once dreams of erasing undesirable blackness while maintaining the qualities that serve as outlets for interracial desire.

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