Opinion: ‘In the Heights’ is just more of the same whitewashed Hollywood

Posted in Articles, Communications/Media Studies, Latino Studies, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, United States on 2021-06-22 20:11Z by Steven

Opinion: ‘In the Heights’ is just more of the same whitewashed Hollywood

The Washington Post
2021-06-21

Julissa Contreras and Dash Harris Machado


Producer Lin-Manuel Miranda attends the 2021 Tribeca Film Festival opening-night premiere of “In the Heights” on June 9 in New York. (Evan Agostini/Invision/AP)

Julissa Contreras is a Dominican writer, poet, actor and creator of the “Ladies Who Bronché” podcast. Dash Harris Machado is co-founder of AfroLatino Travel, producer and facilitator of the “Radio Caña Negra” podcast and producer of “NEGRO: A Docu-series About Latinx Identity.”

The recent controversy surrounding “In the Heights,” the big-budget film based on the musical created by Lin-Manuel Miranda, came as no surprise for Black Latin American and Caribbean people. With its White and light-skinned leading roles, the film became part of a long tradition in the Americas of Black erasure.

When moviegoers and journalists, including the Root’s Felice León, started highlighting the lack of Black leading cast members in the film, many prominent figures rushed to defend it. “We shouldn’t burden Lin-Manuel with the responsibility of representing every Latino,” commentator Ana Navarro said. “You can never do right, it seems,” actress Rita Moreno said in defense of Miranda. “This is the man who literally has brought Latino-ness and Puerto Rican-ness to America.” Both accounts are inaccurate.

Read the entire article here.

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The Racism of the Great Outdoors

Posted in Articles, Media Archive, United States, Women on 2021-05-25 02:20Z by Steven

The Racism of the Great Outdoors

The Washington Post Magazine
2021-05-19

By Ikya Kandula
Photos by Bill O’Leary


Gabrielle Dickerson, a member of Brown Girls Climb, along the Northwest Branch Trail in Silver Spring.

Hikers and climbers of color face a host of obstacles, from bigoted route names to Confederate flags. This D.C.-based group is trying to change that.

Five years ago, Gabrielle Dickerson, then a sophomore at the University of Maryland Baltimore County, lay awake in her sleeping bag on her first overnight climbing trip, enveloped by the woods of the New River Gorge National Park and Preserve near Fayetteville, W.Va. Like many rock climbers in the D.C. area, she’d been drawn to the New, as outdoor enthusiasts call it — a five-hour road trip from Washington — because it offers 1,400 of the best climbing routes in the United States.

The rest of her group had swiftly fallen asleep after a day of projecting — the process of strategizing about, and eventually completing, a climb with no breaks — but apprehension took hold of Dickerson. “I was very aware of how uncomfortable I was in the backcountry of West Virginia,” Dickerson recalls. “Not only because I was a Black woman, but also because of the relationship and trauma my ancestors had with the woods.” Her grandfather had been born on a North Carolina cotton farm in 1930 and picked cotton until he escaped from the owner in his teens. On his way to Philadelphia and a new life, he witnessed his best friend get lynched in the woods…

Brown Girls Climb was launched in 2016 by Bethany Lebewitz, a biracial climber living in Austin. A year later, when Lebewitz moved to D.C., she met outdoor instructor Brittany Leavitt, and together with Monserrat Alvarez Matehuala, Laura Edmondson, Sasha McGhee, and Jael Berger, they built an infrastructure of meetups for Black and Brown women in climbing gyms and at outdoor spots in the Washington region. “I was just floored by the fact that there was this large group of people of color climbing,” Dickerson says of her first Brown Girls Climb meetup, “because that wasn’t like what I had seen when I went to my climbing sessions at the gym, and definitely not when I was climbing outside.”…

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He became the nation’s ninth vice president. She was his enslaved wife.

Posted in Articles, History, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, Slavery, United States on 2021-02-09 18:19Z by Steven

He became the nation’s ninth vice president. She was his enslaved wife.

The Washington Post
2021-02-07

Ronald G. Shafer


Richard Mentor Johnson became vice president in 1837. (Library of Congress)

Her name was Julia Chinn

She was born enslaved and remained that way her entire life, even after she became Richard Mentor Johnson’s “bride.”

Johnson, a Kentucky congressman who eventually became the nation’s ninth vice president in 1837, couldn’t legally marry Julia Chinn. Instead the couple exchanged vows at a local church with a wedding celebration organized by the enslaved people at his family’s plantation in Great Crossing, according to Miriam Biskin, who wrote about Chinn decades ago.

Chinn died nearly four years before Johnson took office. But because of controversy over her, Johnson is the only vice president in American history who failed to receive enough electoral votes to be elected. The Senate voted him into office.

The couple’s story is complicated and fraught, historians say. As an enslaved woman, Chinn could not consent to a relationship, and there’s no record of how she regarded him. Though she wrote to Johnson during his lengthy absences from Kentucky, the letters didn’t survive.

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“One day after this election is over I am going to write a piece about how Latino is a contrived ethnic category that artificially lumps white Cubans with Black Puerto Ricans and Indigenous Guatemalans.”

Posted in Excerpts/Quotes on 2020-11-04 16:47Z by Steven

The news media, in general, has not done a good job of covering the Latino vote. “One day after this election is over I am going to write a piece about how Latino is a contrived ethnic category that artificially lumps white Cubans with Black Puerto Ricans and Indigenous Guatemalans . . .” tweeted Nikole Hannah-Jones of the New York Times.

Margaret Sullivan, “We still don’t know much about this election — except that the media and pollsters blew it again,” The Washington Post, November 4, 2020. https://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/media/we-still-dont-know-much-about-this-election–except-that-the-media-and-pollsters-blew-it-again/2020/11/04/40c0d416-1e4a-11eb-b532-05c751cd5dc2_story.html.

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This interracial couple got engaged in Obama’s America. Then Trump took office.

Posted in Articles, Family/Parenting, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, United States on 2020-10-20 20:55Z by Steven

This interracial couple got engaged in Obama’s America. Then Trump took office.

The Washington Post
2020-10-20

Sydney Trent, Local enterprise reporter


David and Jessica Figari with daughter Liliana at their home outside of Tampa. (Eve Edelheit for The Washington Post)

David and Jessica Figari are navigating racial and political divides in their country — and in their family — that they never anticipated when they fell in love

On the already muggy morning of Aug. 28, 2013, David Figari and Jessica Jones held hands in the billowing crowd near the steps of the Georgetown University Law Center. The young lovers had traveled from Florida to meet each other’s relatives and attend the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington.

The reminiscences from 1963 march veterans had ended and the trek to the Lincoln Memorial was about to begin when David saw an organizer standing near a microphone at the top of the stairs. He walked up to the man with the mic and introduced himself.

“Hey, I’d like to say something. Can I do it?” David said.

The man gave him the once-over and immediately said “No.”

“No, no, you don’t understand. I’d like to propose to my girlfriend.”

“No,” the man said again.

“I said, ‘No, you don’t understand,’” David said. “‘That’s my girlfriend.’”

He pointed to Jessica. Something clicked — this couple, this moment — and the man gasped.

“Everyone, everyone, really quick!” he announced. “David actually has something to say.”…

Read the entire article here.

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White GWU professor admits she falsely claimed Black identity

Posted in Articles, Autobiography, Campus Life, Media Archive, Passing, United States on 2020-09-03 19:45Z by Steven

White GWU professor admits she falsely claimed Black identity

The Washington Post
2020-09-03

Lauren Lumpkin and Susan Svrluga


A George Washington University history professor falsely claimed a Black identity throughout her life, she admitted Thursday. (Jonathan Newton/The Washington Post)

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Jessica A. Krug, an associate professor at George Washington University, said she’s claimed a Black identity throughout her career.

A history professor at George Washington University admitted in a blog post to claiming a Black identity, despite being White.

Jessica A. Krug said she has deceived friends and colleagues by falsely claiming several identities, including “North African Blackness, then US rooted Blackness, then Caribbean rooted Bronx Blackness,” she wrote in a blog post on Medium. Krug, whose areas of expertise include African American history, Africa and Latin America, is White and Jewish, she admitted.

“I am not a culture vulture. I am a culture leech,” Krug wrote. “I have thought about ending these lies many times over many years, but my cowardice was always more powerful than my ethics.”

Neither Krug nor the university immediately returned a request for comment.

Krug, in the blog post, said she has been battling “unaddressed mental health demons” for her entire life. She said she started to assume a false identity as a child.

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“Every Brazilian, even the light-skinned fair-haired one carries about him on his soul, when not on soul and body alike, the shadow or at least the birthmark of the aborigine or the negro…”

Posted in Excerpts/Quotes on 2020-06-30 16:13Z by Steven

After slavery, Brazil didn’t institute prohibitions of interracial relationships or draconian racial distinctions, as the United States did. The absence of a rigid racial taxonomy led to an extraordinarily mixed country, with single families composed of multiple skin tones, and far more racial fluidity.

“Every Brazilian, even the light-skinned fair-haired one carries about him on his soul, when not on soul and body alike, the shadow or at least the birthmark of the aborigine or the negro,” wrote the 20th-century Brazilian sociologist Gilberto de Mello Freyre, who examined the country’s racial mixing in the 1930s. A “paradise,” he declared Brazil, “in respect to race relations.”

Terrence McCoy, “In Brazil, the death of a poor black child in the care of rich white woman brings a racial reckoning,” June 28, 2020. https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/the_americas/brazil-racism-black-lives-matter-miguel-otavio-santana/2020/06/26/236a2944-b58b-11ea-a510-55bf26485c93_story.html.

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In Brazil, the death of a poor black child in the care of rich white woman brings a racial reckoning

Posted in Articles, Brazil, Caribbean/Latin America, History, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, Social Justice, Social Science on 2020-06-30 01:18Z by Steven

In Brazil, the death of a poor black child in the care of rich white woman brings a racial reckoning

The Washington Post
2020-06-28

Terrence McCoy


Demonstrators in Recife, Brazil, demand justice for the death of 5-year-old Miguel Otávio Santana da Silva, the son of a black maid who fell from the ninth floor of a building while under the watch of his mother’s white employer. (Leo Malafaia/AFP/Getty Images)

RIO DE JANEIRO — In the early days of Brazil’s coronavirus outbreak, when businesses and churches went dark, anyone who could stay home did. But not Mirtes Souza. She worked as a maid, and her duties cooking and cleaning for a wealthy family were to continue.

One day this month, she left the luxury building to walk the family’s dog, leaving her 5-year-old son, Miguel, in the care of her boss. But security footage broadcast widely in Brazil showed the woman leaving him unattended inside an elevator and the door closing.

The boy rode it to the top of the building and wandered outside. When Souza returned from the walk, she found him crumpled on the pavement outside the luxury building. He’d fallen nine floors.

“I’m a domestic worker,” Souza said in an interview. “But if I was white, and he’d been white, would this have happened?”

Sarí Gaspar, Souza’s employer, has been charged with culpable homicide in the death of Miguel Otávio Santana da Silva. She has asked for Souza’s forgiveness in a public letter…

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My grandparents were racist. Here’s how I moved on with my head held high.

Posted in Articles, Autobiography, Biography, Family/Parenting, Media Archive, United States on 2020-06-26 02:00Z by Steven

My grandparents were racist. Here’s how I moved on with my head held high.

The Washington Post
2020-06-23

Carolyn Copeland


The author, Carolyn Copeland, circa 1998, when she was about 7, with her father, Brian Copeland, her mother, Mary Copeland, and her brothers Casey, left, and Adam. (Carolyn Copeland)

My grandparents loved to take photos, but there are no pictures of them holding me as a baby. They weren’t in attendance at my birth, my baptism or any of my birthdays. That’s because for the first few years of my life, my grandparents rejected me and my two brothers because we are black.

I’ve hesitated over the years to share my story publicly out of fear that I would embarrass or hurt the people in my extended family, but with the demonstrations taking place around the country after the police killing of George Floyd, I feel it has never been a more important time to reveal my personal experience with racism and explain the different ways it has shown its face within my family. The age of “going along to get along” is over.

From the moment my white mother started dating my black father in the late 1980s, her father disowned her. From that point forward, on my grandfather’s orders, my parents were disinvited from all family gatherings. My grandmother — who said from the beginning that she was against the idea — still complied. Neither attended my parents’ wedding…

Read the entire article here.

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“I have supper with them, and they have supper with me too. Only thing I don’t like is blacks and whites mixing, but I keep that to myself.”

Posted in Excerpts/Quotes on 2020-06-21 23:41Z by Steven

“I got plenty of African American friends — I’ve known ’em since I was 14,” said [Lonnie] Miles, adding that he learned to say ‘African American’ out of respect. “They know if they need anything, all they have to do is ask me. I have supper with them, and they have supper with me too. Only thing I don’t like is blacks and whites mixing, but I keep that to myself.”

Stephanie McCrummen, “Wrapped up in the Confederate flag,” The Washington Post, June 20, 2020. https://www.washingtonpost.com/nation/2020/06/20/heflin-alabama-confederate-flags.

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