Individuals versus Group? The Moral Conundrum of Blurred Racial Boundaries

Posted in Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, Social Science, United States on 2009-12-11 22:59Z by Steven

Individuals versus Group? The Moral Conundrum of Blurred Racial Boundaries

Chapter for publication in Social Science and Ethics, ed. Kristen Monroe. Book manuscript being prepared for review.

Jennifer L. Hochschild, Henry LaBarre Jayne Professor of Government and Professor of African and African American Studies
Harvard University

A classic moral conundrum, especially though not uniquely in liberal polities, is whether a person should choose what is best for him or herself, or whether a person should choose what best advances the interests of the group to which he or she belongs. I explore this conundrum in three related cases – skin color hierarchy among African Americans, multiracialism, and genomics. Each case offers possibilities for blurring, crossing, or even dissolving racial boundaries as they have been understood in the United States for most of the past century. Any such change in a racial boundary might benefit the individual who makes it, and might also diminish the strength or cohesiveness of that person’s group, especially if he or she identifies as African American.

The paper provides evidence showing how and why the conundrum could occur in each of the three cases. It concludes by identifying political situations and policy choices that can exacerbate, or soften, the potential dilemma of having to choose between individual or group benefits.

Read the entire paper here.

Tags: ,

Race and Ethnicity: Culture, Identity and Representation

Posted in Books, Caribbean/Latin America, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, Monographs, Social Science, United Kingdom on 2009-12-11 21:45Z by Steven

Race and Ethnicity: Culture, Identity and Representation

296 pages
Hardback ISBN: 978-0-415-35124-9
Paperback ISBN: 978-0-415-35125-6
Trim Size: 234X156

Stephen Spencer, Senior Lecturer in Sociology
Sheffield Hallam University

Broad-ranging and comprehensive, this incisive new textbook examines the shifting meanings of ‘race’ and ethnicity and collates the essential concepts in one indispensable companion volume. From Marxist views to post-colonialism, this book investigates the attendant debates, issues and analyses within the context of global change.

Using international case studies from Australia, Malaysia, the Caribbean, Mexico and the UK and examples of popular imagery that help to explain the more difficult elements of theory, this key text focuses on everyday life issues such as:

  • ethnic conflicts and polarized states
  • racism(s) and policies of multiculturalism
  • diasporas, asylum seekers and refugees
  • mixed race and hybrid identity

Incorporating summaries, questions, illustrations, exercises and a glossary of terms, this student-friendly text also puts forward suggestions for further project work. Broad in scope, interactive and accessible, this book is a key resource for undergraduate and postgraduate level students of ‘race’ and ethnicity across the social sciences.

Table of Contents

  1. ‘Race’/Ethnicity and Representation
  2. The Politics of Naming
  3. Colonialism: Invisible Histories
  4. Theories
  5. Identity: Marginal Voices and the Politics of Difference
  6. Major Case Study: Indigenous Australians
  7. Conflict
  8. Living the Contradiction
  9. Futures
Tags: ,

Borderlands/La Frontera: The New Mestiza (Third Edition)

Posted in Books, Caribbean/Latin America, Gay & Lesbian, Identity Development/Psychology, Latino Studies, Monographs, United States on 2009-12-11 20:03Z by Steven

Borderlands/La Frontera: The New Mestiza (Third Edition)

Aunt Lute Books
ISBN 1879960125

Gloria Anzaldúa

  • Chosen one of the “Best Books of 1987” by Library Journal.
  • Selected by Utne Reader as part of its “Alternative Canon” in 1998.
  • One of Hungry Mind Review’s “Best 100 Books of the 20th Century”

Rooted in Gloria Anzaldúa’s experience as a Chicana, a lesbian, an activist, and a writer, the groundbreaking essays and poems in this volume profoundly challenge how we think about identity. Borderlands/La Frontera remaps understandings of what a “border” is, seeing it not as a simple divide between here and there, us and them, but as a psychic, social, and cultural terrain that we inhabit, and that inhabits all of us.

New to this edition:

Includes an Introduction by Sonia Saldívar-Hull; an interview with Gloria Anzaldúa; and contributions by Norma Alarcón, Julia Alvarez, Paola Bacchetta, Rusty Barcelo, Norma Elia Cantú, Sandra Cisneros, T. Jackie Cuevas, Claire Joysmith, and AnaLouise Keating.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

(Re)constructing multiracial blackness: women’s activism, difference and collective identity in Britain

Posted in Articles, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, United Kingdom, Women on 2009-12-11 19:35Z by Steven

(Re)constructing multiracial blackness: women’s activism, difference and collective identity in Britain

Ethnic and Racial Studies
Volume 24, Issue 1 (January 2001)
pages 29-49
DOI: 10.1080/014198701750052488

Julia Sudbury, Professor and Department Head of Ethnic Studies
Mills College, Oakland, California

This article analyses the (re)construction of black identity as a multiracial signifier shared by African, Asian and Caribbean women in Britain, from the framework of recent social movement theory. The collective identity approach calls attention to naming as a strategic element of collective action, but has overlooked the experiences of black women at the intersection of multiple systems of oppression. A focus on the process of constructing black womanhood allows us to move beyond static and unidimensional notions of identity to question how and why gendered racialized boundaries are created and maintained. I argue that multiracial blackness should be viewed as an oppositional identity, strategically invoked by black women activists in order to mobilize collective action. Drawing on everyday theorizing by black women, the article examines the shift from the policing of authenticity claims, to a more open and fluid collectivity, and suggests that explicit interrogations of identity are a prerequisite for effective and sustainable alliances between diverse movement participants…

…For African Caribbean women, the ‘pure and narrow defnition’ of blackness (see Faith above) was personified through the figure of the ‘conscious’ or ‘I-tal’ black woman. The ‘I-tal’ woman was a direct refutation of hegemonic constructions of beauty and thus established an alternative ideal of womanhood. She was assumed to have dark skin, unprocessed hair and African phenotype features. In seeking to revalorize these denigrated characteristics, black women activists reified a rigid conceptualization of distinct ‘races’.  One unintentional outcome of this approach is the marginalization of mixed race women (Ifekwunigwe 1997). Exclusionary notions of belonging and community were therefore inherent in women’s oppositional constructions of beauty.

Similar processes characterized a whole array of characteristics and behaviours as black or non-black. A prime area of contestation was that of sexual relationships. Few of the interviewees appeared to view ‘mixed’ relationships as a valid family structure. It was assumed that women who were politically aware would engage in black on black relationships. Accordingly, women who had a white partner were held in suspicion. For example where a woman brought a picture of her new fiancé to a centre, she was at first surrounded by excited women. On seeing the photograph of a white man, the crowds quickly dissipated and women subsequently ignored her…

Read the entire article here.

Tags: ,