Part of the expedition involved sketching and describing mixed-race Brazilians. Agassiz saw the rampant miscegenation in Brazil as a “mongrelization” of pure racial types that would ultimately result in sterility.

Posted in Excerpts/Quotes on 2021-10-01 19:02Z by Steven

[Louis Rodolphe] Agassiz applied this penchant for classification to his views on race. Part of the expedition involved sketching and describing mixed-race Brazilians. Agassiz saw the rampant miscegenation in Brazil as a “mongrelization” of pure racial types that would ultimately result in sterility. Agassiz categorized humans into different “species.” In his book on the Brazil trip, Agassiz notes, “the fact that [the races] differ by constant permanent features is in itself sufficient to justify a comparison between the human races and animal species.”

Michelle Y. Raji, “Retrospection: Agassiz’s Expeditions in Brazil,” The Harvard Crimson, April 21, 2016.

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Retrospection: Agassiz’s Expeditions in Brazil

Posted in Articles, Biography, Brazil, Caribbean/Latin America, Health/Medicine/Genetics, History, Media Archive on 2021-09-23 02:12Z by Steven

Retrospection: Agassiz’s Expeditions in Brazil

The Harvard Crimson

Michelle Y. Raji

Louis Rodolphe Agassiz

But for Agassiz, the trip to Brazil was about more than science. Not only was evolution—a process not immediately observable to the human eye—deeply antithetical to Agassiz’s staunch empiricism, evolution was profoundly at odds with his perceived world order.

Three decades after the then-obscure scientist Charles Darwin quietly sketched his now-famous finches aboard the HMS Beagle in the Galapagos, influential Harvard professor Louis Rodolphe Agassiz set out with much greater fanfare on a lesser-known expedition. In 1865, Agassiz and his wife, accompanied by a small group of Harvard scientists and students, set sail from New York to Rio de Janeiro on The Colorado.

In a lecture en route to Brazil, Agassiz challenged Darwin’s revolutionary theory of evolution on the grounds that the theory relied too much on argument and too little on fact. Agassiz posited that evolution was not plausible according to the geologic record. The trip to Brazil was an attempt to disprove Darwin once and for all. Agassiz saw in the unique biodiversity of Brazil a perfect laboratory to test his counter-theories of phylogenetic embryology and glacial catastrophe in the tropics.

But for Agassiz, the trip to Brazil was about more than science. Not only was evolution—a process not immediately observable to the human eye—deeply antithetical to Agassiz’s staunch empiricism, evolution was profoundly at odds with his perceived world order. Though only moderately religious, Agassiz believed in the existence of a creator in all his work. Fortunately for Agassiz, this belief fit well with comparative zoology, which at the time focused heavily on hierarchal classification…

Read the entire article here.

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Harvard Undergrads Form First Campus Group for Mixed-Race Students

Posted in Articles, Campus Life, Media Archive, United States on 2018-11-21 18:57Z by Steven

Harvard Undergrads Form First Campus Group for Mixed-Race Students

The Harvard Crimson
Cambridge, Massachusetts

Ruth A. Hailu and Olivia C. Scott, Crimson Staff Writers

Fall in Harvard Yard
Harvard Yard Photo: Amy Y. Li

The Harvard Undergraduate Union of Mixed Students received official recognition from the Undergraduate Council earlier this month to become the first group on campus for all mixed race students.

Since they began recruiting members last week, the group has attracted plenty of immediate interest, and its membership list now includes more than 100 students. Founders Iris R. Feldman ’20, Antonia Scott ’20, and Isaiah Johnson ’20 said they want the organization to serve as an inclusive space for all identities shaped by the needs and ideas of its members.

Scott said she was partially inspired to create the group after seeing mixed race organizations at other colleges, and she wanted to replicate the same experience at Harvard, which did not have a mixed race group on campus…

Read the entire article here.

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Exploring Identity: The Asian American Experience at Harvard

Posted in Anthropology, Asian Diaspora, Campus Life, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, United States on 2014-09-30 14:23Z by Steven

Exploring Identity: The Asian American Experience at Harvard

The Harvard Crimson: The University Daily since 1873
Harvard University

Maia R. Silber, Crimson Staff Writer

While last year’s “I, Too, Am Harvard” focused on identity and belongingness on a multiracial campus, Harvard’s AAPI students will also examine these concepts within the context of their own community.

It is a Saturday night, and it is raining—two factors counting against attendance at the talk co-hosted by Harvard’s Asian American Brotherhood and Black Men’s Forum. But a surprising number of people have filtered through the double doors of Boylston Hall, filling the plush red chairs only vaguely oriented around an old-fashioned projector. Stragglers lean against the shade-less windows, their elbows forming perpendicular angles with the droplets pounding on the other side.

Really, it’s no surprise that neither weather nor the opportunity cost of missed social engagements has deterred the audience; the talk centers on the buzz-worthy issue of affirmative action. Both campus groups have invited an alumnus who’s an expert on the issue for two short presentations, to be followed by a Q&A.

Gregory D. Kristof ’15, the education and politics director of AAB, a campus organization whose mission statement cites dedication to brotherhood, service, and activism, introduces AAB’s alumnus. Kristof focuses on the third part of AAB’s mission—the group’s discussions of discrimination and race-relations.

“We can only make so much progress if we only discuss these issues among AAB—among Asian Americans,” he says.

As discussions about race and inclusiveness have moved to the forefront of campus life with the “I, Too, Am Harvard” campaign, many Asian American student organizations have launched their own dialogues about issues pertinent to their community. But the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community at Harvard—representing around 24 percent of the school’s population—encompasses individuals of dozens of different national, ethnic, linguistic, socioeconomic, and religious identities. It includes students born here and students born in Asia, biracial students and multiracial students. How can a unified political force emerge from such a diverse and multifaceted population? Is this even a goal to aspire to?…

…Many students remain unsure as to how to define their own identities. “Sometimes I think of myself as Asian, but sometimes I don’t,” said Jacob. “When I see an Asian collaboration happening, do I automatically think that we should be included? Not necessarily.”

“Asian American” identities are further complicated by biracial and multiracial heritages. Harvard’s Half Asian People’s Association holds an annual discussion called “So What Are You Anyway?”…

Read the entire article here.

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Race, Marriage, and Law

Posted in Articles, History, Law, Media Archive, Native Americans/First Nation, United States on 2012-07-09 02:35Z by Steven

Race, Marriage, and Law

The Harvard Crimson

Peter Cumminos

American racism, though it rests most strongly upon social practice, is strongly bulwarked by many state and local laws. The segregated schools and transportation facilities of the South are explicitly decreed by state legislatures. Virginia courts maintain, for example, that “the preservation of racial integrity is the unquestioned policy of this State, and that it is sound and wholesome, cannot be gainsaid.

The laws which most directly protect “racial integrity,” whatever that may be, are those which make miscegenation (intermarriage of races) a crime. The first anti-miscegenation law was enacted in the colony of Maryland in 1661. It declared that “divers free-born English women, forgetful of their free conditions, and to the disgrace of our nation do intermarry with Negro slaves,” and to deter these “shameful matches” the law provided that women who so marry, and their off-spring, should themselves become slaves. Massachusetts became the third colony to prohibit marriage between Negroes and Caucasians in 1705.

Today it is illegal for Negroes and whites to marry in 21 states: Alabama, Arkansas, Delaware, [Indiana, Georgia, Florida, Kentucky, Louisiana], Maryland, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, West Virginia, and Wyoming. Six of these states prohibit Negro white marriages in their constitutions. Eighteen states, most of them in the last ten years, have repealed anti-miscegenation statutes: Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, Ohio, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Dakota, and Washington…

…Who’s Who

A problem that consistently confronts racist law makers in the question of defining who is “Negro” and who is “white.” In general, two schools of “thought” prevail is the United States on this issue. In about nine states a Negro is anyone who had a grandparent who was a Negro. The laws generally define such a person as “having one-eighth or more Negro blood” or as an “octoroon.” The other definition of Negro is used in at least six states: a Negro is any person who has “any trace of Negro blood.” The circularity of these statements does not seem to trouble the opponents of miscegenation.

Virginia provides an interesting example of racist legal gymnastics. Whites in that state can marry neither Negroes nor American Indians. In Virginia, a Negro is a person who has any Negro ancestor, and an American Indian is a person who had at least one Indian grandparent. If someone has one-sixteenth or less “Indian blood” then he is a white. But Virginia still hasn’t decided what you are if you have one-eighth Indian heritage, i.e. one of your great-grandparents was an Indian. Furthermore, if a man is an inhabitant of an Indian tribal reservation and has at least one Indian grandparent and less than one-sixteenth “Negro blood,” then despite the state’s definition of a Negro he may be regarded as an Indian on the reservation. Once he leaves the reservation, however, he undergoes a legal metamorphosis and becomes a Negro. Of course he can then move to Mississippi, where the “octoroon” requirement prevails, and thus become a Caucasian.

Oklahoma courts have decided that American Indians are “white” and therefore may not marry “any person of African descent.” In Alabama, however, Indians are mulattoes, according to the courts, and therefore cannot marry whites. Filipinos in Louisiana must be able to prove that they are “not basically negroid” before they can marry whites. Indiana courts have revealed that “all Mexicans are not white persons and some of them are negroes,” and therefore non-Negro Mexicans can marry either Negroes or whites.

Once a miscegenation case reaches the courts, legal definitions of race give way to more practical methods. Missouri courts, unable to test a man’s blood for his Negroness, have held that “the jury trying such a case may determine the proportion of negro blood in any party to such marriage from the appearance of such person.” In Alabama you are a Negro if witnesses testify that you attended a Negro school, go to Negro church, have Negro acquaintances, or are “otherwise voluntarily living on terms of social equality with them.” But in many states miscegenation suits have been lost because the white jurors simply could not decide whether the defendant was white or Negro…

Read the entire article here.

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