White Enough to Be American? Race Mixing, Indigenous People, and the Boundaries of State and Nation

Posted in Books, History, Identity Development/Psychology, Law, Media Archive, Monographs, Native Americans/First Nation, United States on 2009-11-17 19:45Z by Steven

White Enough to Be American? Race Mixing, Indigenous People, and the Boundaries of State and Nation

University of North Carolina Press
February 2008
256 pages
6.125 x 9.25, 7 illus., notes, bibl., index
Cloth ISBN:  978-0-8078-3143-4
Paper ISBN:  978-0-8078-5837-0

Lauren L. Basson, Assistant Professor of Politics and Government
Ben-Gurion University, Israel

Racial mixture posed a distinct threat to European American perceptions of the nation and state in the late nineteenth century, says Lauren Basson, as it exposed and disrupted the racial categories that organized political and social life in the United States. Offering a provocative conceptual approach to the study of citizenship, nationhood, and race, Basson explores how racial mixture challenged and sometimes changed the boundaries that defined what it meant to be American.

Drawing on government documents, press coverage, and firsthand accounts, Basson presents four fascinating case studies concerning indigenous people of “mixed” descent. She reveals how the ambiguous status of racially mixed people underscored the problematic nature of policies and practices based on clearly defined racial boundaries. Contributing to timely discussions about race, ethnicity, citizenship, and nationhood, Basson demonstrates how the challenges to the American political and legal systems posed by racial mixture helped lead to a new definition of what it meant to be American—one that relied on institutions of private property and white supremacy.

Read a review of the book by Daniel Lipson here.

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Property Rites: The Rhinelander Trial, Passing, and the Protection of Whiteness

Posted in Books, History, Law, Media Archive, Monographs, Passing, United States on 2009-11-17 19:23Z by Steven

Property Rites: The Rhinelander Trial, Passing, and the Protection of Whiteness

University of North Carolina Press
April 2009
408 pages
6.125 x 9.25, 10 illus., notes, bibl., index
Cloth ISBN  978-0-8078-3268-4
Paper ISBN  978-0-8078-5939-1

Elizabeth M. Smith-Pryor, Assistant Professor of History
Kent State University

In 1925 Leonard [Kip] Rhinelander, the youngest son of a wealthy New York society family, sued to end his marriage to Alice [Beatrice] Jones, a former domestic servant and the daughter of a “colored” cabman. After being married only one month, Rhinelander pressed for the dissolution of his marriage on the grounds that his wife had lied to him about her racial background. The subsequent marital annulment trial became a massive public spectacle, not only in New York but across the nation—despite the fact that the state had never outlawed interracial marriage.

Elizabeth Smith-Pryor makes extensive use of trial transcripts, in addition to contemporary newspaper coverage and archival sources, to explore why Leonard Rhinelander was allowed his day in court. She moves fluidly between legal history, a day-by-day narrative of the trial itself, and analyses of the trials place in the culture of the 1920s North to show how notions of race, property, and the law were—and are—inextricably intertwined.

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Legalizing Identities: Becoming Black or Indian in Brazil’s Northeast

Posted in Anthropology, Books, Brazil, Caribbean/Latin America, History, Identity Development/Psychology, Law, Media Archive, Monographs, Social Science on 2009-11-17 05:40Z by Steven

Legalizing Identities: Becoming Black or Indian in Brazil’s Northeast

University of North Carolina Press
June 2009
272 pages
6.125 x 9.25, 18 illus., 2 maps, notes, bibl., index
Cloth ISBN  978-0-8078-3292-9
Paper ISBN  978-0-8078-5951-3

Jan Hoffman French, Assistant Professor of Anthropology
University of Richmond

Anthropologists widely agree that identities—even ethnic and racial ones—are socially constructed. Less understood are the processes by which social identities are conceived and developed. Legalizing Identities shows how law can successfully serve as the impetus for the transformation of cultural practices and collective identity. Through ethnographic, historical, and legal analysis of successful claims to land by two neighboring black communities in the backlands of northeastern Brazil, Jan Hoffman French demonstrates how these two communities have come to distinguish themselves from each other while revising and retelling their histories and present-day stories.

French argues that the invocation of laws by these related communities led to the emergence of two different identities: one indigenous (Xocó Indian) and the other quilombo (descendants of a fugitive African slave community). With the help of the Catholic Church, government officials, lawyers, anthropologists, and activists, each community won government recognition and land rights, and displaced elite landowners. This was accomplished even though anthropologists called upon to assess the validity of their claims recognized that their identities were “constructed.” The positive outcome of their claims demonstrates that authenticity is not a prerequisite for identity. French draws from this insight a more sweeping conclusion that, far from being evidence of inauthenticity, processes of construction form the basis of all identities and may have important consequences for social justice.

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The Interracial Experience: Growing Up Black/White Racially Mixed in the United States

Posted in Books, Family/Parenting, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, Monographs, Social Science, United States on 2009-11-17 02:15Z by Steven

The Interracial Experience: Growing Up Black/White Racially Mixed in the United States

Praeger Publishers
168 pages
Paperback ISBN: 978-0-275-97046-8
Hardcover ISBN: 978-0-275-97046-8
eBook ISBN: 978-0-313-00033-1

Ursula M. Brown, Psychotherapist in Private Practice
Montclair, New Jersey, USA

The number of black-white mixed marriages increased by 504% in the last 25 years. By offering relevant demographic, research, and sociocultural data as well as a series of intensely personal and revealing vignettes, Dr. Brown investigates how mixed race people cope in a world that has shoehorned them into a racial category that denies half of their physiological and psychological existence. She also addresses their struggle for acceptance in the black and white world and the racist abuses many of them have suffered.

Brown interweaves research findings with interviews of children of black-white interracial unions to highlight certain psychosocial phenomenon or experiences. She looks at the history of interracial marriages in the United States and discusses the scientific and social theories that underlie the racial bigotry suffered by mixed people. Questions of racial identity, conflict, and self-esteem are treated as are issues of mental health. An important look at contemporary mixed race issues that will be of particular interest to scholars, researchers, students, and professionals dealing with race, family, and mental health concerns.

Table of Contents:
Introduction: Three Interracial People
An Orientation
Racial Identity, Conflict and Self-esteem
When the Cloth Don’t Fit
The Family
Places to Live and Learn
Love and Color
Being Well
Appendix A
Appendix B
Appendix C

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