But in the past year, off the track [Lewis] Hamilton has started to find a voice about his racial identity. He has been taking a knee; raising a clenched fist.

Posted in Excerpts/Quotes on 2021-07-15 20:03Z by Steven

But in the past year, off the track [Lewis] Hamilton has started to find a voice about his racial identity. He has been taking a knee; raising a clenched fist. Long dormant concerns about racism and discrimination have been rudely awakened following the Black Lives Matter uprisings. In the process, Hamilton has transformed the way he sees himself: from a compliant go-with-the-flow character to a change agent who is determined to make waves. He has shaped the way others see him too, going from an inoffensive, if gaffe-prone, socialite focused only on his sport, to a politically aware role model conscious of his wider cultural significance. Now, he is about to take on the sport that brought him fortune and fame, with a commission demanding racial diversity and meaningful outreach to underrepresented groups – as well as more racial equality in general.

Gary Younge, “Lewis Hamilton: ‘Everything I’d suppressed came up – I had to speak out’,” The Guardian, July 10, 2021. https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2021/jul/10/lewis-hamilton-everything-id-suppressed-came-up-i-had-to-speak-out.

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Lewis Hamilton: ‘Everything I’d suppressed came up – I had to speak out’

Posted in Articles, Biography, Media Archive, Social Justice, United Kingdom on 2021-07-15 15:50Z by Steven

Lewis Hamilton: ‘Everything I’d suppressed came up – I had to speak out’

The Guardian
2021-07-10

Gary Younge, Professor of Sociology
University of Manchester, Manchester, United Kingdom


Lewis Hamilton: ‘I don’t just want to be remembered as a driver.’ Styling: Law Roach. Photograph: Ike Edeani/The Guardian

He’s the most successful driver Formula One has ever seen, and its only Black star. Now Lewis Hamilton has a new mission: to change the sport that made him.

As Lewis Hamilton rose through the ranks of competitive go-karting, his father, Anthony, told him: “Always do your talking on the track.” Lewis had a lot to talk about. Bullying and racial taunts were a consistent feature of his childhood in Stevenage, Hertfordshire, a new town 30 miles north of London; his dad taught him the best response was to excel at his sport.

The trouble was he didn’t have many people to talk to about what he was going through. Lewis is mixed-race, born to a white mother, Carmen Larbalestier, who raised him until he was 12, when he went to live with his Grenadian-British father, from whom she had separated. “My mum was wonderful,” he tells me. “She was so loving. But she didn’t fully understand the impact of the things I was experiencing at school. The bullying and being picked on. And my dad was quite tough, so I didn’t tell him too much about those experiences. As a kid I remember just staying quiet about it because I didn’t feel anyone really understood. I just kept it to myself.” Sport offered him an outlet. “I did boxing because I needed to channel the pain,” he says. “I did karate because I was being beaten up and I wanted to be able to defend myself.”

I understand where he’s coming from; I too grew up in Stevenage. Hamilton’s mother and I went to the same school – though not at the same time. As close to London as it was, it might as well have been in a different universe. In London the Black experience appeared authentic; in Stevenage it felt synthetic. Race in London was something you read about in the papers; race in Stevenage was something you didn’t even acknowledge. I was 22 before I found my first Black male friend…

Read the entire article here.

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‘An American riddle’: the black music trailblazer who died a white man

Posted in Articles, Arts, Biography, Communications/Media Studies, History, Media Archive, Passing, United States on 2021-07-15 15:14Z by Steven

‘An American riddle’: the black music trailblazer who died a white man

The Guardian
2021-07-14

Ammar Kalia


Harry Pace, lawyer and cultural entrepreneur, thought by his family to have been Italian. Photograph: Courtesy of Peter Pace

A fascinating new podcast delves into the life of Harry Pace, forgotten founder of the first black-owned major record label in the US – and unlocks a shocking and prescient story about race

There are, according to the academic Emmett Price, “six degrees of Harry Pace”. He is referring to the man born in 1884 who founded America’s first black-owned major record label; desegregated part of Chicago; mentored the founder of Ebony and Jet magazines and spearheaded the career of blues singer Ethel Waters. Pace is a figure who is seemingly everywhere at once, yet his name has been suspiciously absent from the history books.

“This story encapsulates how progress comes about in America – and it is never in a straight line,” says Jad Abumrad. “It is often a cycle – one that contains hope and despair, smashed together.”

Best known for their work on Radiolab and its hit spin-off, Dolly Parton’s America, Abumrad and his co-producer Shima Oliaee are speaking from New York about their latest podcast, The Vanishing of Harry Pace. The six-part series examines the life and legacy of its titular character – the founder of Black Swan records, who had a hand in coining the term “rock ‘n’ roll”. Pace was also a civil rights lawyer, a collaborator of WEB Du Bois, and, you might think, a pioneering black American erased from history because of his race…

Read the entire article here.

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Why celebrating ‘mixed-race beauty’ has its problematic side

Posted in Articles, Communications/Media Studies, Media Archive, United Kingdom, United States on 2021-04-19 17:20Z by Steven

Why celebrating ‘mixed-race beauty’ has its problematic side

The Guardian
2021-04-08

Natalie Morris


Kim Kardashian West at a Paris Fashion Week event on 2 March 2020. Photograph: Marc Piasecki/WireImage

The trend personified by the Kardashians is driven by the aesthetics of ambiguity – and proximity to whiteness

I was insecure about how I looked when I was younger. My hair was frizzy and embarrassingly enormous. My bum stuck out too much. My lips were too big. My thighs were too big.

Everything about me – specifically my racialised features as a Black mixed woman – felt “too much”. I remember the distinct feeling of wanting to shrink myself, melt myself down into something neater, smaller, sleeker – which is how I saw my white friends, and the beautiful white people on TV.

Then, in my early 20s, soon after moving to London from my home in Manchester, I began to notice a shift in how beauty was being represented. Suddenly, faces, hair and bodies that looked like mine were plastered on shop windows, grinning down from billboards, smizing (smiling with their eyes) from the pages of magazines. Every other TV ad featured mixed models or an interracial family.

White influencers began plumping their lips, baking their skin, braiding their hair, even undergoing invasive surgical procedures to create curves where none existed. The things about myself I had wanted to disguise or alter in my youth were now in vogue – and I struggled to get my head around that. How did it become “trendy” to look like me? And should I feel pleased about it?…

Read the entire article here.

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Brazilian butt lift: behind the world’s most dangerous cosmetic surgery

Posted in Articles, Health/Medicine/Genetics, Media Archive, Women on 2021-02-10 02:23Z by Steven

Brazilian butt lift: behind the world’s most dangerous cosmetic surgery

The Guardian
2021-02-09

Sophie Elmhirst

The BBL is the fastest growing cosmetic surgery in the world, despite the mounting number of deaths resulting from the procedure. What is driving its astonishing rise?

The quest was simple: Melissa wanted the perfect bottom. In her mind, it resembled a plump, ripe peach, like the emoji. She was already halfway there. In 2018, she’d had a Brazilian butt lift, known as a BBL, a surgical procedure in which fat is removed from various parts of the body and then injected back into the buttocks. Melissa’s bottom was already rounder and fuller than before, and she was delighted by the effect, with how it made her feel and how it made her look. But it could be better. It could always be better.

On a recent afternoon, Melissa visited the British aesthetic surgeon Dr Lucy Glancey for a consultation. Glancey had performed Melissa’s first BBL at her clinic on the Essex-Suffolk borders, a suite of rooms boasting shining white cupboards, a full-length mirror and drawers stuffed with syringes. As she waited for Melissa to arrive, Glancey showed me a picture of Melissa on the beach in Dubai, wearing a palm-print bikini and posing in a kind of provocative crouch – arms, breasts, thighs and buttocks all arranged for optimum effect. “Look how good she looks,” said Glancey, admiring Melissa and her own work. “I said to her, I don’t see what else we can do.”

When Melissa walked into the room, she didn’t exactly resemble her digital self, but then, who does? She’d swapped Dubai-luxe for Suffolk-casual – blue jeans and a pink sweater. After a quick chat, Glancey – dark blue scrubs, coral toenails – asked Melissa to take off her clothes. Together, doctor and patient stood in front of the mirror and stared.

…Like anyone inspecting their own body, Melissa could see things no one else could see. She wasn’t seeing just its current form in the mirror, but multiple versions: her former body, her desired body, her digital body. In her teens, nearly a decade ago, when Cara Delevingne’s thigh gap had its own Twitter account, Melissa had wanted to be thin and flat like everyone else. Then fashions changed. Explaining why she got her first BBL, Melissa, who is white, said she had wanted to fill out a pair of jeans and appeal to the kind of men she liked. “I felt attracted to black men and mixed-race men, and they liked curvier women,” she told me…

…Not everyone can achieve the Kardashian body. As with much of the Kardashian West oeuvre, her bottom has its own attendant controversies, not least because it appears to want to be an idealised version of a black woman’s bottom. Kardashian West, who has Armenian heritage and has always denied having had bottom surgery, has long been accused of “blackfishing” – mimicking and appropriating black culture to enhance her brand. “It’s completely constructed, a kind of fiction,” said Alisha Gaines, professor of English at Florida State University, and the author of Black for a Day: White Fantasies of Race and Empathy. “She’s made an empire on appropriating blackness and selling it to all types of people, including black folks.”…

Read the entire article here.

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Lewis Hamilton attacks silence from F1 paddock over George Floyd killing

Posted in Articles, Media Archive, Social Justice, United Kingdom on 2020-07-06 20:23Z by Steven

Lewis Hamilton attacks silence from F1 paddock over George Floyd killing

The Guardian
2020-05-31

Giles Richards


Lewis Hamilton has accused ‘some of the biggest stars’ in his sport of ‘staying silent in the midst of injustice’ after the killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis police. Photograph: David Davies/PA
  • Hamilton: ‘I see those of you who are staying silent’
  • Driver condemns response from ‘white-dominated sport’

Lewis Hamilton has spoken out about the killing of George Floyd and offered a damning condemnation of the silence from others in Formula One, including his fellow drivers.

“I see those of you who are staying silent, some of you the biggest of stars yet you stay silent in the midst of injustice,” he wrote on Instagram. “Not a sign from anybody in my industry which of course is a white-dominated sport.

“I’m one of the only people of colour there yet I stand alone. I would have thought by now you would see why this happens and say something about it but you can’t stand alongside us. Just know I know who you are, and I see you.”

Hamilton is the only black driver in Formula One and has been outspoken on the sport’s need for greater diversity in the past. “There’s barely any diversity in F1,” Hamilton said in 2018. “Still nothing’s changed in 11 years I’ve been here.”…

Read the entire article here.

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Brit Bennett: ‘Last week was truly the wildest week of my life’

Posted in Articles, Arts, Interviews, Media Archive, Passing, United States, Women on 2020-07-06 16:06Z by Steven

Brit Bennett: ‘Last week was truly the wildest week of my life’

The Guardian
2020-07-05

Simran Hans


‘I’m Californian, so nobody really reads me as anxious’: Brit Bennett. Photograph: Leonardo Cendamo/Getty Images

The US author on topping the bestseller charts with her new novel, why being right is overrated, and the TV show bringing her joy in lockdown

Brit Bennett, 30, was born and raised in southern California. She attended Stanford University and earned an MFA in fiction at the University of Michigan. Her acclaimed first novel, The Mothers, was published in 2016, when she was 26. Her follow-up, The Vanishing Half, has spent the past three weeks in the top five of the New York Times bestseller list and the screen rights have been optioned by HBO in a seven-figure deal.

HBO had to outbid 17 rival TV companies in the race to adapt your book for the screen. How does that feel?
Last week was truly the wildest week of my life. It was my birthday week, so I’ve never been sent so many bottles of champagne or bouquets of flowers in my life, and probably never will be again.

And that was on top of your book debuting at No 1 in the NYT bestseller list. What were you doing when you heard the news?
It was maybe 5 o’clock in the evening and I was just sitting on my couch, and my editor called out of nowhere. We were optimistic, but I never imagined that. The people who are No 1 are household names, like Stephen King!

Describe The Vanishing Half.
It’s a story about twin sisters, Desiree and Stella, who decide to live their lives on opposite sides of the colour line – one as a white woman and one as a black woman…

Read the entire interview here.

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My dad was in prison throughout my childhood. I navigated a white world alone

Posted in Articles, Family/Parenting, Media Archive, Social Justice, United States on 2020-06-13 22:34Z by Steven

My dad was in prison throughout my childhood. I navigated a white world alone

The Guardian
2020-06-10

Whitney Bradshaw
Portland, Oregon


Collage of family photos from Whitney Bradshaw. Photograph: Courtesy Whitney Bradshaw

Three days after my third birthday, my father was arrested for armed robbery and sentenced to 25 years in prison.

Starting around age five, whenever I saw a shooting star, I’d make a wish that my dad could come home. Eventually, that wish became “I wish he could be released for just one day”. As I grew, I stopped wishing.

Fast-forward to last week. More than 20 years later, for the first time in my life, I was happy my dad is in prison. Because he’s safer as an inmate than as a free black body walking the streets…

Read the entire article here.

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Harry and Meghan were meant to embody post-racial Britain. So much for that

Posted in Articles, Media Archive, United Kingdom on 2020-01-12 02:40Z by Steven

Harry and Meghan were meant to embody post-racial Britain. So much for that

The Guardian
2020-01-11

Amna Saleem


Prince Harry and Meghan Meghan after their wedding ceremony, May 2018. Photograph: Damir Šagolj/Reuters

Remember the choir, the preacher? The marriage symbolised a new era – then the tabloid onslaught began

It’s the stuff romcoms are made of: beautiful young woman meets charming prince and, after a series of mild miscommunications, they live happily ever after. Well, that’s how it’s supposed to go at least. Meghan Markle, the much put upon protagonist of this Nora Ephron-meets-Get Out fairytale, has gone off-script and attempted to create a different happy ending, and with good reason.

Everything that could have predicted the pair’s joint decision to step back as senior royals can be directly traced back through all the sensationalist and derogatory headlines written about Markle. She couldn’t even enjoy avocados without being framed as a drought- and murder-fuelling traitor, set on bringing down the monarchy. Harry, to his credit, has been by her side every step of the way, challenging traditions by demanding an end to the tabloids’ abuse of her, which sadly had little impact. If anything, it gave the news cycle more to talk about – but his actions were nonetheless commendable…

Read the entire article here.

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How I changed my mind about the biology of race

Posted in Articles, Health/Medicine/Genetics, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, Social Science on 2019-12-29 02:07Z by Steven

How I changed my mind about the biology of race

The Guardian
2019-12-28

Philip Ball, Science Writer


‘I have all the liberal lefty’s revulsion at racism, but I couldn’t help thinking that if we insisted that race is not biologically determined, wouldn’t that just confuse people?’ Photograph: Anadolu Agency/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Angela Saini’s book Superior showed me our misconceptions about race and science arise from a habit of the mind

It has been common for several years now to assert that science shows the concept of race has no biological basis, and that we must see it instead as a social construct. That case was argued, for example, by Kenan Malik in his 2008 book Strange Fruit, and it is presented, too, in Angela Saini’s Superior (which I reviewed for the Guardian in July), a popular choice on many “books of the year” lists.

I used to be sceptical about this claim. I have all the liberal lefty’s revulsion at racism, but I couldn’t help thinking: “If we insist that race is not biologically determined, won’t that just confuse people, given that it is so blindingly obvious that characteristic markers of race are inherited?” The usual argument is that genomics has identified no clusters of gene variants specific to conventional racial groupings: there is more genetic variation within such groups than between them. But doesn’t that insist on a definition of race that most people simply won’t recognise? Isn’t it better to say that yes, race has a biological basis – but the relevant bodily features are a trivial part of what makes us us?

I confess that I was too nervous to make this suggestion in such an incendiary area. Fortunately, after reading Saini’s book I no longer need to, for Superior gave me the perspective I needed to see what is wrong with it. Our concept of race is not really about skin colour or eye shape, and never has been. It has baked into it beliefs that can’t be dispelled merely by reducing its biological correlates to trivialities. For in our assumptions about race, those features have always been rather irrelevant in themselves. Rather, they serve to activate prejudices stemming from deeply ingrained cognitive habits…

Read the entire article here.

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