Dispatches from the Color Line: The Press and Multiracial America

Posted in Books, Census/Demographics, Communications/Media Studies, Media Archive, Monographs, Politics/Public Policy, Social Science, United States on 2009-12-14 18:52Z by Steven

Dispatches from the Color Line: The Press and Multiracial America

State University of New York Press
July 2007
295 pages
Hardcover ISBN10: 0-7914-7099-7; ISBN13: 978-0-7914-7099-2
Paperback ISBN10: 0-7914-7100-4; ISBN13: 978-0-7914-7100-5

Catherine R. Squires, Cowles Professor of Journalism, Diversity and Equality
University of Minnesota

Explores contemporary news media coverage of multiracial people and identities.

When modern news media choose to focus attention on people of multiracial descent, how does this fit with broader contemporary and historical racial discourses? Do these news narratives complicate common understandings of race and race relations? Dispatches from the Color Line explores these issues by examining contemporary news media coverage of multiracial people and identities. Catherine R. Squires looks at how journalists utilize information from many sources—including politicians, bureaucrats, activists, scholars, demographers, and marketers—to link multiracial identity to particular racial norms, policy preferences, and cultural trends. She considers individuals who were accused (rightly or wrongly) of misrepresenting their racial identity to the public for personal gain, and also compares the new racial categories of Census 2000 as reported in Black owned, Asian American owned, and mainstream newspapers. These comparisons reveal how a new racial group is framed in mass media, and how different media sources reinforce or challenge long-standing assumptions about racial identity and belonging in the United States.

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Sci fi offers surprising insights on race

Posted in Articles, Arts, Media Archive, United States on 2009-12-14 15:28Z by Steven

Sci fi offers surprising insights on race

The Brandeis Hoot
Brandeis University

Marissa Lainzi

Months and months of wading through red ink, volleying e-mails, coordinating, coordinating, and coordinating came to fruition for the Mixed Heritage Club on Friday night, as their much-anticipated speaker, Eric Hamako, gave the talk, “Monsters, Messiahs, or Something Else?” a discussion of mixed race issues in sci-fi movies.

Hamako, a doctoral student at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, intrigued the audience with his observations and theories regarding the portrayal of the “new” and “old” mixed race ideals in popular entertainment. Citing the movies Blade and Underworld, Hamako explained the portrayal of mixed-race people as “monsters” or “messiahs”—with vampires, humans, and werewolves becoming the racial metaphors.

The “monster” depiction of mixed-race people, Hamako explained, comes from the “old” conception of mixed race, which presented mixed-race people as deformed, immoral, or somehow wrong or inhuman. The “new” conception of mixed race, on the other hand, presents opposite stereotypes—that mixed-race people are beautiful, genetically superior, and the easy way to quash racism. Hamako calls this the “messiah” depiction.

Using clips from “Underworld,” Hamako showed the movie’s symbolic pitting of the new messiah version of mixed race against the old monster version. Hamako said that this is a way of injecting the new stereotypes about mixed race into the audience’s mind and attempting to justify forgetting that the old stereotypes existed by symbolically destroying them…

Read the entire article here.

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Race in the Making: Cognition, Culture, and the Child’s Construction of Human Kinds

Posted in Anthropology, Books, Media Archive, Monographs, Social Science on 2009-12-14 01:10Z by Steven

Race in the Making: Cognition, Culture, and the Child’s Construction of Human Kinds

The MIT Press
May 1996
243 pages
19 illus.
Cloth ISBN-13: 978-0-262-08247-1
Paper ISBN-13: 978-0-262-58172-1

Lawrence A. Hirschfeld, Professor of Anthropology & Psychology
Eugene Lang College, The New School for Liberal Arts

Race in the Making provides a new understanding of how people conceptualize social categories and shows why this knowledge is so readily recruited to create and maintain systems of unequal power.

Hirschfeld argues that knowledge of race is not derived from observations of physical difference nor does it develop in the same way as knowledge of other social categories. Instead, his central claim is that racial thinking is the product of a special-purpose cognitive competence for understanding and representing human kinds. The book also challenges the conventional wisdom that race is purely a social construction by demonstrating that a common set of abstract principles underlies all systems of racial thinking, whatever other historical and cultural specificities may be associated with them.

Starting from the commonplace observation that race is a category of both power and the mind, Race in the Making directly tackles this issue. Through a sustained exploration of continuity and change in the child’s notion of race and across historical variations in the race concept, Hirschfeld shows that a singular commonsense theory about human kinds constrains the way racial thinking changes, whether in historical time or during childhood.

After surveying the literature on the development of a cultural psychology of race, Hirschfeld presents original studies that examine children’s (and occasionally adults’) representations of race. He sketches how a jointly cultural and psychological approach to race might proceed, showing how this approach yields new insights into the emergence and elaboration of racial thinking.

Table of Contents

Series Foreword
1 Representing Race: Universal and Comparative Perspectives
On the Notion of Human Kinds
The Psychological Study of Race
Psychology, Race, and Causality
Psychology and the Reality of Racial Categories
On the Historical Specificity of Race
The Modernity of Race
Race and Instrumentality
Racial Thinking and Racial Theories
2 Mining History for Psychological Wisdom: Rethinking Racial Thinking
Common Sense and Race: A Proposal
Racial Differences Are Embodied
Racial Differences Are Natural
Race Is Enduring
Race Encompasses Nonobvious and Inner Qualities as Well as Outward Physical Ones
Conclusions: Causality, History, and Psychology
3 Domain Specificity and the Study of Race1
Language and the Domain-Specificity Hypothesis
Issues in Domain Specificity
The Acquisition of Domain-Specific Theories
Evolution and Domain Specificity
Domain Specificity and Problems of Cultural Variation
Domain-Specific Competence: A Characterization
Domain-Specific Competences as Guides to Partitioning the World
Domain-Specific Competences as Explanatory Frames
Domain-Specific Competences as Functional and Widely Distributed Devices
Domain-Specific Competences as Dedicated Mechanisms
Do Domain-Specific Competences Correspond to Domains of the External World?
Conclusion: Toward a Domain-Specific Account of Racial Thinking
4 Do Children Have a Theory of Race?1
Cognition, Race, and “Mature” Representations
Children’s Racial Thinking
A Note on Methodology
How Do We Know What the Young Child Thinks When Thinking Racially?
Study 4.1: The Identity of Race
Follow-up 1
Follow-up 2
Follow-up 3
Follow-up 4
Study 4.2: Switched at Birth: Race, Inheritability, and Essence
Follow-up 1
Follow-up 2
Follow-up 3
Conclusions: The Conceptual Origins of Folk Sociology
5 Race, Language, and Collective Inference1
Categories and Inference
Language, Society, and Inductive Inference
Children’s Understanding of Language Variation
Study 5.1: Mapping Languages onto Social Categories
Study 5.2: Are All Social Contrasts Informative of Language Differences?
Language Differences and Social Contrast
Race and Social Contrast
Study 5.3: Intelligibility, Language Structure, and Race
6 The Appearance of Race: Perception in the Construction of Racial Categories1
An Alternative Model
Implications of the Alternative Model
Testing the Model
Study 6.1: Appearances and Memory for Narrative
Study 6.2: Verbal Descriptions from Visual Narratives
Labeling and Sorting Results
Narrative Tasks
7 The Cultural Biology of Race1
Race, Biology, and Society
Children’s Understanding of the Inheritability of Race
Social versus Biological Interpretation
Essentialism in Children’s Reasoning about Race
Study 7.1: Mixed Parentage, Category Membership, and Resemblance
Results from Category-Identity Task
Study 7.2: The Inheritance of Racial and Nonracial Features
Study 7.3: Inheritance of Skin Color and Hair Color in Animals
Study 7.4: Community, Race, and Beliefs about Inheritability
Children’s Biological and Racial Thinking
Racial Identity and Essentialist Reasoning
Summary of Results
Race and Other Intrinsic Kinds
Race, Biology, and Perception
Race and Culture
Human Kinds in Culture and Cognition
Experiment 7.1: Stimulus Story, Character Assignment 1
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