Mixed-race Brazilians increasingly embrace blackness

Posted in Articles, Brazil, Caribbean/Latin America, Census/Demographics, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, Social Science on 2021-12-14 03:04Z by Steven

Mixed-race Brazilians increasingly embrace blackness

France 24

Brazilian philosopher and writer Djamila Ribeiro holds her book “Small Anti-Racist Manual” during an interview with AFP in Sao Paulo, Brazil, on November 8, 2021 NELSON ALMEIDA AFP

Rio de Janeiro (AFP) – When Bianca Santana was little, her grandmother used to put her forearm alongside her mother’s and her own, proudly showing how the family’s skin had lightened across the generations.

Now 37, Santana, a Brazilian writer and activist, sees the long-loaded issue of race in her country through a different lens: she is proud to call herself black.

“When a child was born with lighter skin, that was cause for celebration,” says Santana, recalling the messages she received about race growing up.

She remembers how her black grandmother used to make her pull her hair into a tight bun, so she wouldn’t look like “‘those little blackies.'”

“She liked to talk about how my mother’s father had Italian blood, how his mother had blue eyes,” she says.

Today, Santana, author of the book “How I Discovered I Was Black,” proudly wears her hair in an afro, a style she only embraced at age 30.

Her shifting sense of identity is increasingly common in Brazil, the country with the largest black population outside Africa.

Brazil, which will celebrate Black Consciousness Day Saturday, struggles with structural racism and the legacy of slavery, which it only abolished in 1888 — the last country in the Americas to do so.

But for the large mixed-race population in this sprawling country of 213 million people, the stigma long attached to blackness is fading.

“Mixed-race people in Brazil increasingly identify as black,” Santana says.

“They’re straightening their hair less, they’re embracing black identity more and more.”…

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On Passing and Not Trying to Pass

Posted in Articles, Autobiography, Identity Development/Psychology, Judaism, Media Archive, Passing, Religion on 2021-12-14 02:52Z by Steven

On Passing and Not Trying to Pass

My Jewish Learning

Tema Smith

I am black, and I am Jewish.

I’ve always found comfort in the and of my identity — that simple part of speech that joins together two disparate things: two families, two histories, two cultures, two heritages, two skin colors, two lineages of trauma, two pathways to North America. As the offspring of both, I am equally neither.

Lately, I spend a lot of time within the proverbial “walls” of the organized Jewish community. As a Jewish professional, my day-to-day life is dedicated to synagogue operations — specifically, membership and communications. While in many ways I am “at home” in the Jewish community, to this day I still feel out of place within the communal mainstream. And, contradictory as it may seem, it is the fact that I can easily pass for the Ashkenazi majority that leaves me feeling this way.

I should say: I never asked to pass. The fact that I can walk into Jewish settings and instantly fit in leaves me with a bad taste. At the same time, I remember recognizing my own thoughts when I read Katya Gibel Azoulay quote her son in her seminal book, Black, Jewish, and Interracial: It’s Not the Color of Your Skin, but the Race of Your Kin, and Other Myths of Identity: “I’m not going to put up a sign that says I’m black just to be accepted,” she relays, writing, “as far as he was concerned, the idea of ‘learning how to act Black’ was the theater of the absurd.”…

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John Agard becomes first poet to win BookTrust lifetime achievement award

Posted in Articles, Media Archive on 2021-12-14 02:40Z by Steven

John Agard becomes first poet to win BookTrust lifetime achievement award

The Guardian

Alison Flood

‘It’s not just me receiving this award’ … John Agard. Photograph: Rex

Reading charity pays tribute to ‘incredible words’ of Afro-Guyanese author, who came to Britain in 1977 where he has become a staple of English lessons

The Afro-Guyanese writer John Agard has become the first poet to receive the BookTrust lifetime achievement award.

Agard, who was born in Georgetown, Guyana and moved to England in 1977, has been a fixture on the curriculum since 2002 for poems including Half-Caste (“Explain yuself / wha yu mean / when yu say half-caste / yu mean when picasso / mix red an green / is a half-caste canvas?”) and Checking Out Me History. Winning the Queen’s award for poetry in 2012, he is the author of more than 50 books for children and adults.

“John’s incredible words have caught the imagination of a whole generation of children,” said Diana Gerald, chief executive of the reading charity, which has given its lifetime achievement award in the past to some of the biggest names in children’s literature, from Shirley Hughes to Raymond Briggs and the late Judith Kerr

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Passing for white or the true colors of Cuban miscegenation

Posted in Articles, Caribbean/Latin America, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, Passing on 2021-12-14 01:30Z by Steven

Passing for white or the true colors of Cuban miscegenation

OnCuba News

Odette Casamayor, Associate Professor of Romance Languages
University of Pennsylvania

Photo: Kaloian Santos.

The miscegenation, in addition to being fierce and magical, painful or romantic, torment, fun, depending on how you want to interpret it, is one of the most insidious phenomena that exists.

I am black, in all circumstances and scenarios. I could never pass for anything else. Perhaps that is why I have always been curious about the strategies deployed by many in what could be considered another national sport: “passing for white.”

There is abundant magic and tragedy in each link of a complicated gear that, since colonial times, has operated relentlessly in Latin American societies. In the territories colonized by the Iberian metropolises, miscegenation would go beyond its primary biological dimension to, regardless of its intensity, become an important instrument of social mobility, promoting progress as the skin whitens and the negroid features become blurred or, as is commonly said, “the race is improved.” Meanwhile, in the Anglo-Saxon north equal opportunities were not granted to the mestizo subject. That is why what many call “the race,” because they choose to consider it a reality and not a historical, political and socio-economically determined construction, cannot in appearance be “improved” in the United States.

However, miscegenation, in addition to being fierce and magical, painful or romantic, torment, fun, depending on how you want to interpret it, is one of the most insidious phenomena that exists. Miscegenation has always been a pandemic: it occurs everywhere when it is least expected and promoted. So, although much less structured than in Latin America, the mechanism of “passing for white” also has a following in the United States…

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