‘People Assume I’m White. This is The Racism I See’

Posted in Articles, Autobiography, Latino Studies, Media Archive, Passing, United States on 2021-10-15 00:14Z by Steven

‘People Assume I’m White. This is The Racism I See’

Newsweek
2021-10-14

Nikki Barthelmess

Nikki Barthelmess’ parents were Mexican American and Jewish, but people often assume she is white, not Mexican American. Nikki Barthelmess

A few months ago, I answered a knock at my door. My neighbor, James*, launched into a complaint. “That silver Honda is parked in front, and we have a friend coming over who wants to park there,” he said. He was referencing the car belonging to Ana*, a family friend who I hired days before to help with childcare for my toddler.

Ana appeared behind me to see what was going on. James looked at Ana and then at me, and despite Ana being only a few feet away, he nodded at Ana and spoke as if she wasn’t there. “Cleaning crew?” he asked me. My head snapped back in shock.

My eyes darted to Ana to see if she’d heard, and somehow it seemed she hadn’t. I stammered, unsure of what to say. She was wearing jeans and a T-shirt. She wasn’t holding a mop or dusting rag or anything that would indicate she was cleaning. After a moment of gaping, I closed the distance between Ana and me and put my arm around her. “James,” I said, looking at Ana, rather than at him, “this is Ana. She just started coming to the house to babysit Hadley while I write.” I squeezed Ana’s shoulder. “Ana is a long time family friend. She used to be my husband’s grandparents’ caregiver years ago before they died, and we’ve stayed in touch,” I said.

Read the entire article here.

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Why Kamala Harris’ Afro-Asian Identity Matters | Opinion

Posted in Articles, Asian Diaspora, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, United States, Women on 2020-07-17 15:56Z by Steven

Why Kamala Harris’ Afro-Asian Identity Matters | Opinion

Newsweek
2020-07-09

Oneka Labennett, Associate Professor of American Studies and Ethnicity
University of Southern California

Front-runner. Black woman. Afro-Asian? A favorite to become Joe Biden’s running mate, Kamala Harris is in the homestretch of the most consequential veepstakes of our lifetime. With cries for racial justice and police reform gripping the nation, we know Harris’ Blackness matters to a Democratic ticket led by a white male septuagenarian—but so does her Asian identity.

As the daughter of immigrants from India and Jamaica, Harris’ Afro-Asian heritage puts her at the crux of the coronavirus crisis. Just as the pandemic has cast a stark light on the lethality of systemic anti-Black racism in the United States, it has also exposed discrimination and xenophobia against Asian communities and other immigrants. Still, a Black cop and an Asian cop are among the officers charged with aiding and abetting George Floyd’s murder. Speaking to Black and Asian constituencies now would be a powerful acknowledgment that could further galvanize political coalition building while tending to the wounds of division.

Of course, the senator’s Afro-Asian heritage is muted in part because of the American one-drop rule“a drop of Black blood” makes an individual Black. In her book The Truths We Hold, Harris recounts that her mother understood that America would view her daughters as Black, so she raised them as such

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Why Is Skin Color Different? Huge Genetic Study Reveals Prevailing Theory of Pigmentation is Wrong

Posted in Africa, Articles, Health/Medicine/Genetics, Media Archive on 2017-12-04 04:20Z by Steven

Why Is Skin Color Different? Huge Genetic Study Reveals Prevailing Theory of Pigmentation is Wrong

Newsweek
2017-11-30

Kastalia Medrano, Staff Writer


These are South African individuals in a household that exemplify the substantial skin pigmentation variability in the Khomani and Nama populations.
Brenna Henn

Scientists used to think that the same small handful of genes accounted for about half of all pigment variation in human skin. A new study shows the genetic picture behind skin color is far more complex.

Research supporting the prior, simpler conclusion was skewed by Eurocentrism. Because it focused almost exclusively on Northern Eurasian populations from higher latitudes, the data missed a huge swath of the globe. Now, scientists have factored in people of color living in lower latitudes—and found that the prevailing theory is wrong.

Scientists from the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, Stanford University, and Stony Brook University worked with groups of indigenous southern African peoples called the KhoeSan, notable to some for their use of “click” language. They interviewed them, measured their respective heights and weights, and used a tool called a reflectometer to measure their skin pigmentation.

After seven years of research, and data gathered from about 400 individuals, the researchers realized that the closer a population lives to the equator, the greater the number of genes play a part in determining skin pigmentation. A paper describing the research was published November 30 in the scientific journal Cell.

“Previous work has shown the biomedical consequences of ethnically biased studies. Over the past 10 years, approximately 80 percent of genetic association studies were performed in European-descent groups,” Alicia Martin, a postdoctoral scientist in the lab of Broad Institute member Mark Daly, told Newsweek by email. “What we find here is that the biology of pigmentation or ‘architecture’ can be very different in Africans.” Martin says the findings emphasize the need to fund more genetic work in diverse populations…

Read the entire article here.

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Review: In New Biopic ‘Barry,’ The Real Obama Remains Hidden

Posted in Articles, Barack Obama, Biography, Book/Video Reviews, Media Archive, United States on 2016-12-22 02:24Z by Steven

Review: In New Biopic ‘Barry,’ The Real Obama Remains Hidden

Newsweek
2016-12-16

Tom Shone

While President Barack Obama decides on his future—a return to his roots as a community organizer? A de facto leader for the Trump resistance? More writing?—pop culture has stepped in to give him the Mount Rushmore treatment. First we had Southside With You, a sweet, inoffensive Sundance hit about his and Michelle Obama’s first date. Now we have Barry, Vikram Gandhi’s film for Netflix about Obama’s year as a transfer student at Columbia University, a period in which the future president read a lot of books, smoked a ton of cigarettes and eventually decided to become a community organizer. This is Obama: The Awakening.

Taking the lead is Australian actor Devon Terrell, who is more strapping than his subject but gets just the right mixture of Vulcan self-possession and self-doubt, giving him a slight stammer as ideas struggle for expression through multiple thought-menus. Casting a non-American actor was a smart move. The film records not just Obama’s first encounter with New York—the Big Apple of Ronald Reagan’s first term, with its beatboxes, graffiti and break-dancers—but with a kind of urban black experience he hadn’t experienced in Hawaii. Passing between worlds, he belongs wholly to neither…

Read the entire review here.

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How ‘Barry’ Gets Obama Right—And Wrong

Posted in Articles, Barack Obama, Biography, Book/Video Reviews, Media Archive, United States on 2016-12-21 19:48Z by Steven

How ‘Barry’ Gets Obama Right—And Wrong

Newsweek
2016-12-21

Matthew Cooper, Political Editor


President Barack Obama during a White House news conference in Washington, December 16. A new Netflix production, “Barry,” charts his college years in New York, when “Barry,” as he was known, wrestled with his racial identity.
JONATHAN ERNST/REUTERS

There’s less than a month left of Barack Obama’s presidency, but the 55-year-old remains enigmatic. His remarkable ascent—as the son of a mixed-race marriage, the child of a single mother in Hawaii—to the Oval Office is as great a Log Cabin tale as that of any of his 43 predecessors. Maybe it’s because of his swift rise or his outlier/insider duality that he remains, even in his last days in office, the object of so much dispute.

The president has already penned two deservedly acclaimed memoirs and more are planned. And he’s been the subject of two biopics, this summer’s charming Southside with You, about his first date with Michelle (nee Robinson), and now Barry, a Netflix production that charts his college years in New York, when “Barry,” as he was known, wrestled with his racial identity…

Read the entire article here.

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The Racial Discrimination Embedded in Modern Medicine

Posted in Articles, Health/Medicine/Genetics, Media Archive, United States on 2015-10-23 00:16Z by Steven

The Racial Discrimination Embedded in Modern Medicine

Newsweek
2015-10-20

Lindsey Konkel

Minutes separated Are’Yana Hill from death as she struggled to breathe in the hallway of her San Francisco high school. The 18-year-old had lived with asthma attacks since before she could talk, and on that day, in April 2014, she could not speak. She thrust the rescue inhaler she carried in her backpack between her lips and inhaled. No relief. It felt, she thought, as if a charley horse had formed in her chest, knotting her lungs—each gasp trammeled by tightening airways. Her pursed lips turned gray, and all she could think about was her unborn baby. Hill, eight months pregnant, clutched her inhaler and prayed for paramedics to arrive.

“I take my medicine every day. I do everything the doctors tell me. I’ve tried every single thing, and I still have attacks,” Hill said a little more than a year later, as a nurse at San Francisco General Hospital’s Asthma Clinic placed a stethoscope on her back, between her shoulders. Her wheezing was barely audible. Each expiration sounded like the whistle of a distant tea kettle.

The attack in 2014 put Hill in the hospital. Asthma attack patients in the emergency room are often given oxygen and albuterol or other medications to relax the airways through a nebulizer mask. These treatments typically last a couple of hours, but Hill’s airways weren’t opening. She breathed through a nebulizer continuously for a week while the doctors closely monitored her pregnancy. Hill has brittle asthma—severe and unpredictable attacks that are poorly controlled, even with medication. Two weeks after she left the hospital, her son was born, healthy. Others are not as lucky…

…In the U.S. medical community, studying racial differences in disease susceptibility and response to treatments remains controversial. Race and ethnicity are social constructs that have been used to marginalize and exploit. Scientifically, race serves only as a crude proxy for what experts call genetic ancestry—the diverse signatures that arose in the genetic code as our ancestors traversed the globe.

Some experts worry that a focus on finding genetic differences obscures the need to address the socioeconomic disparities that lead to uneven access to health care in the U.S. “Focusing on inclusion in clinical trials is a great way to ignore the fact that large numbers of poor and minority people are getting less than optimal health care,” says Dr. Otis Brawley, chief medical officer for the American Cancer Society.

Yet because of its social baggage, race remains a powerful tool for studying patterns of disease and health, according to Sam Oh, an epidemiologist in Burchard’s laboratory at UCSF. A person’s self-identified race or ethnicity can offer important clues beyond genetic ancestry about important cultural, socioeconomic and environmental factors that may influence disease risk…

Read the entire article here.

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There Is No Such Thing as Race

Posted in Anthropology, Articles, Health/Medicine/Genetics, History, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, Social Science on 2014-11-09 21:12Z by Steven

There Is No Such Thing as Race

Newsweek
2014-11-08

Robert Wald Sussman, Professor of Physical Anthropology
Washington University, St. Louis, Missouri

In 1950, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) issued a statement asserting that all humans belong to the same species and that “race” is not a biological reality but a myth. This was a summary of the findings of an international panel of anthropologists, geneticists, sociologists, and psychologists.

A great deal of evidence had accumulated by that time to support this conclusion, and the scientists involved were those who were conducting research and were most knowledgeable about the topic of human variation. Since that time similar statements have been published by the American Anthropological Association and the American Association of Physical Anthropologists, and an enormous amount of modern scientific data has been gathered to justify this conclusion…

…In my book, The Myth of Race: The Troubling Persistence of an Unscientific Idea, I have not dwelt upon all of the scientific information that has been gathered by anthropologists, biologists, geneticists, and other scientists concerning the fact that there are no such things as human biological races. This has been done by many people over the past fifty or so years.

What I do is describe the history of our myth of race and racism. As I describe this history, I think that you will be able to understand why many of our leaders and their followers have deluded us into believing these racist fallacies and how they have been perpetuated from the late Middle Ages to the present.

Many of our basic policies of race and racism have been developed as a way to keep these leaders and their followers in control of the way we live our modern lives. These leaders often see themselves as the best and the brightest. Much of this history helped establish and maintain the Spanish Inquisition, colonial policies, slavery, Nazism, racial separatism and discrimination, and anti-immigration policies.

Although policies related to racism seem to be improving over time, I hope to help clarify why this myth still exists and remains widespread in the United States and throughout Western Europe by describing the history of racism and by exploring how the anthropological concepts of culture and worldview have challenged and disproven the validity of racist views…

Read the entire article here.

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The Hypervisible Man: Obama as the First Black, Mixed-Race, Asian American and now Gay President

Posted in Articles, Barack Obama, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, Social Science, United States on 2012-05-27 22:43Z by Steven

The Hypervisible Man: Obama as the First Black, Mixed-Race, Asian American and now Gay President

Mixed Dreams: towards a radical multiracial/ethnic movement
2012-05-24

Nicole Asong Nfonoyim

“I have always sensed that he [Obama] intuitively understands gays and our predicament—because it so mirrors his own. And he knows how the love and sacrifice of marriage can heal, integrate, and rebuild a soul. The point of the gay-rights movement, after all, is not about helping people be gay. It is about creating the space for people to be themselves. This has been Obama’s life’s work. And he just enlarged the space in this world for so many others, trapped in different cages of identity, yearning to be released and returned to the families they love and the dignity they deserve.” −Andrew Sullivan, “The First Gay President,” Newsweek

I admit, I’ve missed quite a bit being oceans and continents away from the US of A. But one watershed moment managed to reach my little apartment in Udaipur last week as I was sipping my morning chai. Front page of the Times of India was Obama’s declaration of support for marriage equality. Between you and I, I was always of the camp that believed Obama’s previous stance was no more than a mere (albeit calculated and predictable) front to protect his political hide as the over-hyped newbie presidential candidate. Seems my sentiments were shared by Andrew Sullivan in his cover article in this week’s edition of Newsweek, which featured the above image and the headline “The First Gay President.”

Reading Sullivan’s article, I remembered a talk I attended at Oberlin College for Asian Pacific American Month in 2010 where the speaker’s last slide was entitled “The First Asian-American President” beneath two photographs of Obama, one as a child in Indonesia and one hugging his sister Maya Soetoro-Ng at his high school graduation in Hawaii. The speaker insisted that Obama’s early childhood spent in Indonesia with  his mother and stepfather, his youth spent in Hawaii, his identity as a hyphen American, and immigrant son made his experience akin to that of many Asian-Americans and thus earned him the title “First Asian-American President.” And in those terms it totally made sense. Obama could be Asian-American. Obama’s identity lends itself quite easily to repeated acts of reading and (re)interpretation. Though he’s self-identified as African-American, many still call him “The First Multiracial President.” Because it matters much less what Obama thinks of himself than what we the people think of him—what images we project onto his being.

In my course, I used Obama’s story, his identity as a tool to understand how multiraciality contains multitudes and how a multiracial critique could be instrumental in breaking down monolithic notions of identity. So I encouraged students to talk about multiraciality as part of black identities, as part of Asian-American identities, Latin@, Native, White, adoptee and queer identities. If anything multiraciality benefits a great deal from a queer critique—queering race. And there’s increasingly more out there in Academe that works at the rich intersection. That being said, I still found myself a bit surprised to see such a bold act of race queering on the cover of a mainstream American publication such as Newsweek

Read the entire essay here.

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Beyond Just Black and White: Why I was so eager to claim my biracial son for my own side

Posted in Articles, Census/Demographics, History, New Media, Social Science, United States on 2010-03-12 19:02Z by Steven

Beyond Just Black and White: Why I was so eager to claim my biracial son for my own side

Newsweek.com
2009-01-24

Raina Kelley, Weekly Columnist

When I took my newly born son from the nurse’s arms, I did the expected counting of his fingers and toes. I checked under his cap for hair and flexed his little limbs. Once confident he was whole and healthy, I began to wonder how dark his skin would get. As a black woman married to one of the world’s fairest men, I worried that our son would be so light-skinned as to appear Caucasian, and I wanted him to look black…

Read the entire article here.

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The End of Black History: A Postscript to My Son

Posted in New Media, Politics/Public Policy, Social Science, United States, Videos on 2010-03-12 16:09Z by Steven

The End of Black History: A Postscript to My Son

Newsweek.com
2010-02-28
00:13:57

Raina Kelley, Weekly Columnist

In trying to understand what black history will mean to my son when he’s old enough to wonder, I went in search of the purpose of Black History Month. (Video: Raina Kelly, Jon Groat; Additional material courtesy Angelique Kidjo, Penn Museum)

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