UT students, staff reflect on experiences with racial passing

Posted in Articles, Asian Diaspora, Campus Life, Latino Studies, Media Archive, Passing, Texas, United States on 2021-12-06 03:23Z by Steven

UT students, staff reflect on experiences with racial passing

The Daily Texan: Serving the University of Texas at Austin Community Since 1900
2021-12-05

Sofia Treviño, Life & Arts Senior Reporter


Julius Shieh/The Daily Texan

Disliking her paler skin compared to other darker-complected Hispanics growing up, Rachel González-Martin spent hours lying under the sun willing herself to tan. Only burning and turning red, she grew frustrated. González-Martin wanted others to easily recognize her as Hispanic.

“There’s who we know we are and how we tell our own story, but we can never escape from what people see in us or read from our appearance,” the associate professor of Mexican American and Latina/o studies said.

Racial passing — a term used to describe those perceived as a member of another racial group than their own — can affect how closely people connect to and feel a part of their communities. For UT students and staff, the process of navigating different cultural stereotypes and learning to embrace their identities regardless of their appearance remains a lifelong project.

Growing up in Oakland, California, with very few fellow Hispanics, González-Martin felt she needed to physically show her identity. However, as she’s grown older, she said she’s learned to accept her own meaning of belonging to a community aside from outside biases…

Read the entire article here.

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In Hip-Hop and Academia, Mystic Defines Her Own Success Story

Posted in Articles, Arts, Biography, Campus Life, Media Archive, United States, Women on 2021-12-03 18:14Z by Steven

In Hip-Hop and Academia, Mystic Defines Her Own Success Story

KQED
San Francisco, California
2021-12-01

Nastia Voynovskaya, Associate Editor

Mystic surprised the world by walking away from a record deal after her successful debut album. But for her, it was all part of the plan to create and be of service, completely on her own terms. (Nastia Voynovskaya/KQED)

Mystic sits in her backyard on the kind of warm, autumn afternoon that makes people remark at how good it is to live in Oakland, California. Dappled light shines through a lush canopy of persimmon, fig and guava trees. Her pet lovebird chirps in the distance, and she’s snacking on almonds between Zoom calls with young musicians she mentors.

This is the veteran hip-hop artist’s little oasis, away from the unruliness of the city, where she ponders the changing seasons of life, love and art.

It’s a good time for reflection. The recent loss of her longtime close friend and Digital Underground collaborator, Shock G, shook her deeply. That, and the grief of living during a global pandemic, prompted her to listen inward and ask herself what would fulfill her soul right now.

“I mean, shouldn’t we be doing what we love? Isn’t it the time now?” she asks in her naturally poetic cadence, lowering her voice into a near-whisper. Then, she starts to get louder and more passionate, as if proclaiming a manifesto: “If we’re artists, and art is part of our healing journey, then we should all be making art right now, right? There should be art flooding our speakers and our museums and our buildings, right? Public art.”

And for Mystic, one of the roles of hip-hop as a public art form is to bring traumas out of darkness and into the light, where they can be examined and processed—maybe even let go—in communion with others. That’s the power of her classic album Cuts for Luck and Scars for Freedom, whose 20th anniversary Mystic is celebrating this year. She recently took ownership of the master recordings and put out a podcast series looking back at its creation. Now, she’s gearing up for a vinyl rerelease in December.

From the outside, it might look like Mystic is recommitting to her art after years of focusing on her other loves: academia and teaching. After Cuts for Luck and Scars for Freedom was released to great acclaim, she walked away from a record deal and took a different path that brought her to UC Berkeley and, eventually, the University of Oxford for her master’s degree in education. For years, she spent more time in kindergarten classrooms than on stage in front of fans. But to Mystic, these multiple pursuits are all part of one continuous quest to create, express and be of service.

“It takes life to make art,” she texts me after one of our conversations. “There are times of input and times of output. I take my time for input, and that includes healing, living, loving, working with children, school and community. When my art is ready to be born, that is output. That is all 😉.”…

Read the entire article here.

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The Truths We Hold: An American Journey

Posted in Asian Diaspora, Autobiography, Biography, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, United States, Women on 2020-08-12 00:29Z by Steven

The Truths We Hold: An American Journey

Penguin Press
2019-01-08
336 Pages
6-1/8 x 9-1/4
Hardcover ISBN: 9780525560715
Paperback ISBN: 9780525560739
eBook ISBN: 9780525560722

Kamala D. Harris

A New York Times bestseller

From one of America’s most inspiring political leaders, a book about the core truths that unite us, and the long struggle to discern what those truths are and how best to act upon them, in her own life and across the life of our country.

Senator Kamala Harris’s commitment to speaking truth is informed by her upbringing. The daughter of immigrants, she was raised in an Oakland, California community that cared deeply about social justice; her parents–an esteemed economist from Jamaica and an admired cancer researcher from India–met as activists in the civil rights movement when they were graduate students at Berkeley. Growing up, Harris herself never hid her passion for justice, and when she became a prosecutor out of law school, a deputy district attorney, she quickly established herself as one of the most innovative change agents in American law enforcement. She progressed rapidly to become the elected District Attorney for San Francisco, and then the chief law enforcement officer of the state of California as a whole. Known for bringing a voice to the voiceless, she took on the big banks during the foreclosure crisis, winning a historic settlement for California’s working families. Her hallmarks were applying a holistic, data-driven approach to many of California’s thorniest issues, always eschewing stale “tough on crime” rhetoric as presenting a series of false choices. Neither “tough” nor “soft” but smart on crime became her mantra. Being smart means learning the truths that can make us better as a community, and supporting those truths with all our might. That has been the pole star that guided Harris to a transformational career as the top law enforcement official in California, and it is guiding her now as a transformational United States Senator, grappling with an array of complex issues that affect her state, our country, and the world, from health care and the new economy to immigration, national security, the opioid crisis, and accelerating inequality.

By reckoning with the big challenges we face together, drawing on the hard-won wisdom and insight from her own career and the work of those who have most inspired her, Kamala Harris offers in The Truths We Hold a master class in problem solving, in crisis management, and leadership in challenging times. Through the arc of her own life, on into the great work of our day, she communicates a vision of shared struggle, shared purpose, and shared values. In a book rich in many home truths, not least is that a relatively small number of people work very hard to convince a great many of us that we have less in common than we actually do, but it falls to us to look past them and get on with the good work of living our common truth. When we do, our shared effort will continue to sustain us and this great nation, now and in the years to come.

PRH Audio · The Truths We Hold by Kamala Harris, read by Kamala Harris
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Another layer of blackness: theorizing race, ethnicity, and identity in the U.S. black public sphere

Posted in Barack Obama, Dissertations, Media Archive, United States on 2014-10-24 18:13Z by Steven

Another layer of blackness: theorizing race, ethnicity, and identity in the U.S. black public sphere

University of Iowa
2013
277 pages

Patrick B. Oray

A thesis submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the Doctor of Philosophy degree in American Studies in the Graduate College of The University of Iowa

While many studies of U.S. immigration highlight the diversity within other racial and ethnic groups, scholarly attention to the significance of ethnicity among black people in this country is still sorely underdeveloped. This dissertation project explores how black identities are constructed not only through the prism of race in the U.S. context, but also through other social dynamics that operate “in the shadow of race,” such as differences in class, color, country of origin, and circumstances of migration. Instead of a singular black identity fueled by our political discourses and popular culture, my project treats “blackness” as a floating signifier that is constructed both within the racial organization of the U.S. nation-state and among the peoples of the black diaspora within its borders. In short, blackness is a matter that has become national, international, and transnational in scope.

Ethnicity and its implications for how we think about black identity and group representation in U.S. society is the other “layer of blackness” this dissertation addresses. The formation and reshaping of American identity among various immigrant groups have historically involved complicated relationships between race and ethnicity, two concepts scholars have used to articulate group identities in the U.S. The history of U.S. racial and ethnic relations reveals the complicated processes through which some social groups have been able to establish their place in the American mainstream by adapting to the cultural and institutional norms established by mainstream white society. Non-white immigrant groups have been forced to find their American identities on the margins of U.S. society because of their purported inability or unwillingness to assimilate to established cultural and institutional norms. Sometimes this alienation from the American mainstream takes on a purely racial dimension. At other times, the prejudices of U.S. society are directed at particular ethnic groups.

But in spite of the status ascribed to them, these immigrants have also proven to be empowered agents in their implicit and explicit critiques of the U.S.’s social order. Historically, non-white immigrants in the U.S. have demonstrated the power to question, disrupt, and resist cultural and institutional forms of discrimination even as they are incorporated into them.

My interrogation of black ethnic identity and what it brings to bear on how we define blackness in the U.S. begins by asking what cultural capital black immigrants bring with them in their sojourn to America rather than assuming what is lost in the process of their incorporation into U.S. race relations. Patterns of immigration, return migration and circular migration that have come to characterize the experience of many foreign-born blacks in the U.S., as well as the circulation of ideas, culture, and history between sending and receiving countries are all issues germane to the process of black immigrant incorporation and black ethnic identity in the U.S. As such, the argument I proffer in my dissertation project is this: because of the myriad processes at play in formulating black racial and ethnic identities in America (i.e., historically established structures of race as well as an unprecedented surge in foreign-born black migration this country)-how we define blackness in the U.S. context is more fruitfully theorized as a matter that is at once national, international, and transnational in scope. It is at the nexus of these fronts that the historical and cultural constructions of blackness are currently defined among the diversity of black people in the U.S.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

  • I. BLACK LIKE WHOM?: AN INTRODUCTION TO RACE, CLASS, AND ETHNICITY IN THE UNITED STATES BLACK PUBLIC SPHERE
    • 1.1 Ethnicity as “Another Layer of Blackness”
    • 1.2 Theorizing the U.S. Black Public Sphere
    • 1.3 Uncovering an Ethnic Layer of Blackness in the U.S. Black Public Sphere
  • II. “NO BOOTBLACK HAITIANS:” BLACK COSMOPOLITAN CONSCIOUSNESS AND THE U.S. OCCUPATION OF HAITI (1915-1934)
    • 2.1 The Roots of Black Cosmopolitan Consciousness in the U.S.: The African-American Press Response to the Occupation
    • 2.2 Cosmopolitanism and the U.S. Black Public Sphere: The Occupation, The New Negro Movement, and the Harlem Renaissance
    • 2.3 The Limits of Cosmopolitanism in the U.S. Black Public Sphere
  • III. SOMEWHERE BETWEEN “BROTHERS” AND “OTHERS” (REPRISE): AFRICAN-AMERICANS, BLACK IMMIGRANTS, AND THE POLITICS OF PLACE
    • 3.1 African Americans and the Transformation of the “Chocolate City” of Oakland, California
    • 3.2 “Challenges to “Umoja” (Unity): The Close Encounters of Black Americans and Black Immigrants in Oakland
    • 3.3 The “Blues City” Finds a New Identity“
  • IV. RACE AND REPRESENTATIONS OF BLACKNESS IN THE ERA OF OBAMA
    • 4.1 Obama’s Presidential Conceit: A “Black Man” Who is Also “Everyman”
    • 4.2 “Articulate, Bright, and Clean”: Barack Obama and the Melodrama of Blackness in Campaign ‘08
    • 4.3 Obama Walks the Tightrope Between “Race” and “Nation”
  • V. CONCLUSION: W(H)ITHER THE BLACK PUBLIC SPHERE?: RACE, ETHNICITY AND IDENTITY IN THE ERA OF OBAMA
  • BIBLIOGRAPHY

Read the entire dissertation here.

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