#312: Mixed Foundations: Supporting and Empowering Multiracial Student Organizations

Posted in Campus Life, Forthcoming Media, Live Events, United States on 2015-05-28 12:09Z by Steven

#312: Mixed Foundations: Supporting and Empowering Multiracial Student Organizations

The 28th Annual National Conference on Race & Ethnicity in American Higher Education (NCORE)
Washington Hilton
1919 Connecticut Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20009
2015-05-26 through 2015-05-30

Thursday, 2015-05-28, 08:30-10:00

Multiracial college students face pervasive monoracist attitudes and structural oppression. These students, like many students from historically marginalized backgrounds, experience greater satisfaction and retention rates when their identities are understood and their needs accommodated. This session will focus on supporting and empowering multiracial students and mixed race student organizations on college campuses. Presenters will utilize student affairs research and identity development theory to address common challenges that multiracial organizations face and how to effectively confront them. Participants will learn about the importance of creating inclusive spaces for multiracial students, equipping them with strong leadership skills, and advising them through political and administrative hurdles.

Presenters

Victoria Malaney, Special Assistant to the Dean of Students
University of Massachusetts, Amherst

Kendra Danowski, Program Coordinator for Civic Engagement & Social Justice
Eugene Language College, New York, New York

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#262: Researching and Publishing on Multiracial Topics

Posted in Live Events, Media Archive, Teaching Resources, United States on 2015-05-27 15:13Z by Steven

#262: Researching and Publishing on Multiracial Topics

The 28th Annual National Conference on Race & Ethnicity in American Higher Education (NCORE)
Washington Hilton
1919 Connecticut Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20009
2015-05-26 through 2015-05-30

Wednesday, 2015-05-27, 15:30-17:30 EDT (Local Time)
Columbia 3, Terrace Level

From the politics of labeling and counting mixed race students in research, to the interactions with editors who might not care about multiraciality, this session explores key issues related to researching and publishing on multiracial topics. Join several panelists from various fields in and outside of academia, as they share their experiences with various aspects of the research and publishing enterprise. From developing their own ideas for projects and conducting research, to writing for peer-reviewed journals and even turning the dissertation into a book, the panelists have a wealth of knowledge and expertise related to researching and publishing. They will share lessons learned along the way in their various roles as researchers, authors, editors, and most importantly, readers that can help others move their own work forward. Moreover, this session allows for the discussion of not only the general challenges of the research and publishing process, but also what happens when you add the complexities of multiraciality. Depending on contexts, multiracial topics can at times be viewed as too controversial or unworthy of our scholarly attention. Without conducting innovative research and disseminating new knowledge, there will continue to be limited/limiting discourses on mixed race, setting up dangers of a “single story” to encompass all experiences of such a diverse population. Publishing can be used as a way to open up new lines of inquiry, challenge narrow framings, and insist upon anti-racist approaches to research and practice. It also allows us to use various approaches to reach multiple audiences (e.g., scholarly, popular, student, literary). By exposing some of these issues, participants will have the opportunity to engage in critical conversations and move toward developing their own best practices for researching and publishing on multiraciality.

Presenters

Marc Johnston, Assistant Professor
Ohio State University

Kristen Renn, Professor of Higher, Adult, & Lifelong Education
Michigan State University

Lawrence-Minh Davis, Director
The Asian American Literary Review, Inc., College Park, Maryland

Steven Riley, Founder/Creator
MixedRaceStudies.org, Silver Spring, Maryland

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Tony Williams’ “Wilderness” and Mixed-Race Identity through Jazz

Posted in Articles, Arts, Biography, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, United States on 2015-05-27 02:31Z by Steven

Tony Williams’ “Wilderness” and Mixed-Race Identity through Jazz

Soundscapes and Such: Critical Thoughts on Sonic Subjects
2015-05-27

Shawn M. Higgins
University of Connecticut


Tony Williams (source: Wikipedia)

Why do song writers choose the song titles they do? Perhaps Herbie Hancock’s 1980 track “4 A.M.” was recorded at that exact time – or maybe finished then? The song isn’t sleepy and lethargic as I might connotatively connect with the before-dawn hour, but jazz musicians are infamously night owls, and the song’s rhythm suggests this might be the funkiest, most active hour of the cycle. The title of John Coltrane’s 1967 song “Stellar Regions”, through the frenzied, echoing cymbal work of Rashied Ali and Coltrane’s trilling, screaming saxophone, could serve in a Romantic sense to invoke feelings of a paean to the heavens. The listeners, upon closing their eyes, are sonically shot into space and flung around the cosmos through the combination of music and such a song title. And of course, one of Duke Ellington’s most famous songs, which is in turn an absolute standard of jazz today, was given a title by the composer Billy Strayhorn after Duke gave him directions to his house and told him to “Take the ‘A’ Train.” None of these songs at the time of their composure had any lyrics to support these titles either in a refrain or in any thematic way. Rather, the listener is encouraged to interpret the sounds alongside the title or through the title. What happens in this exchange between artist, product, and consumer is my primary interest, and I would like to point to one artist in particular who used his song titles as a conscious way of addressing his newly discovered mixed-race identity.

Tony Williams, the legendary jazz drummer who is credited with inventing the “blast beat” and who called legends like Miles Davis, Herbie Hancock, and John McLaughlin his musical partners, candidly explained in a 1995 BET interview a recent revelation in his life. Williams had discovered at the age of roughly forty-nine that he was of a racially mixed ancestry – he was phenotypically African American but also of Chinese and Portuguese background…

Read the entire article here.

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The Invention of Hispanics

Posted in Audio, Census/Demographics, Latino Studies, Media Archive, Social Science, United States on 2015-05-27 01:59Z by Steven

The Invention of Hispanics

Latino USA
2015-05-22

Hosts:

Marlon Bishop, Producer

Camilo Vargas, Producer

Guest:

G. Cristina Mora, Assistant Professor of Sociology
University of California, Berkeley

Before 1970, the US Census Bureau classified Mexican, Cuban and Puerto Rican immigrants as whites. Each community of Latin American origin would go by their nationality and by the region where they lived in the United States. But all that changed in the seventies, as activists began lobbying the US Census Bureau to create a broad, national category that included all these communities. The result was the creation of the term “Hispanic”, first introduced in the US Census in 1970.

Then it was up to Spanish-language media to get the word out. The network that would later become Univision released this series of ads calling on “Hispanics” to fill out the 1980 Census. The ads feature “Hispanic” sports stars and… Big Bird:…

By the 1990s, Univision was creating the images and sounds associated to Hispanics in the US. The 1990 Census ads feature the likes of Tito Puente and Celia Cruz telling Hispanics to fill out el censo:…

Read the preview here. Listen to the story here.

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On The Cherokee Rose, Historical Fiction, and Silences in the Archives

Posted in Articles, Book/Video Reviews, History, Media Archive, Native Americans/First Nation, United States on 2015-05-27 01:44Z by Steven

On The Cherokee Rose, Historical Fiction, and Silences in the Archives

Process: a blog for american history
2015-05-26

Martha S. Jones, Arthur F Thurnau Professor, Associate Professor of History and Afroamerican and African Studies
University of Michigan


Martha S. Jones

Martha S. Jones is the Arthur F. Thurnau Professor at the University of Michigan on the faculties in Afroamerican and African studies, history, and law. She is also a codirector of the university’s Program in Race, Law, and History. The author of the forthcoming Birthright Citizens: A History of Race and Rights in Antebellum America and a coeditor of Toward an Intellectual History of Black Women (University of North Carolina Press, 2015), she is at work on a new book entitled “Riding the Atlantic World Circuit: Slavery and Law after the Haitian Revolution.” She is also an OAH Distinguished Lecturer.

The Cherokee Rose, the debut novel by historian Tiya Miles, caught me in the middle of a longstanding argument. I had pre-ordered the book from its publisher John F. Blair, and so it arrived unexpectedly, as if unsummoned. It was March, a busy moment in the term. Still, I stole time that Saturday, reading it nearly cover-to-cover in one sitting. I left the last chapter until the next day, just to savor the experience. Miles is my colleague at the University of Michigan, and that hints at why I’d let my email pile up just to read a work of fiction. Generally, I’m the sort that lets a stack of books accumulate for later summer reading. But there was more. As I said, I was trying to settle an argument and thought The Cherokee Rose might help.

Many of us know Miles for her award-winning works of history: Ties That Bind: The Story of an Afro-Cherokee Family (University of California Press, 2006), The House on Diamond Hill: A Cherokee Plantation Story (University of North Carolina Press, 2012), and Tales from the Haunted South: Dark Tourism and Memories of Slavery from the Civil War Era (also coming from UNC Press this fall). Miles’ insight into the intimate dynamics of slavery at the crossroads of Native American and African American experience has won her professional accolades and an eager readership. In this sense, while The Cherokee Rose is fiction, it is no sharp departure. Miles builds upon what she had already taught us, including her exploration of Georgia’s Chief Vann House, to provide a new vantage point from which to explain the past…

Read the entire review here.

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Novelist Mat Johnson Explores The ‘Optical Illusion’ Of Being Biracial

Posted in Articles, Audio, Autobiography, Interviews, Media Archive, United States on 2015-05-27 01:25Z by Steven

Novelist Mat Johnson Explores The ‘Optical Illusion’ Of Being Biracial

Weekend Edition Sunday
National Public Radio
2015-05-24

Growing up in Philadelphia, Mat Johnson lived mostly with his mother in a black neighborhood. The son of an African-American mother and an Irish-American father, his skin was so light that he might have passed for white. But being biracial meant only one thing back in the ’70s: “Um, it meant: black,” Johnson says with a laugh. “There wasn’t a lot of ambiguity there. I didn’t hear the world biracial or didn’t think of myself as biracial. And when I did hear that, I reacted to it defensively. I thought it was just black people of mixed heritage who were just trying to run away from blackness.”

Johnson was born three years after Loving Day — the historic 1967 Supreme Court decision which made interracial marriage legal. His new novel, Loving Day, is a funny, sometimes absurd look at what it means to be mixed race in this country.

These days, Johnson has a more nuanced way to describe his racial identity. He says he is a mixed person of African-American descent. But he also uses another, more loaded word, to describe himself: mulatto

Read the entire article here. Download the interview here. Read the transcript here.

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Crossed lines

Posted in Articles, History, Media Archive, Passing, United States on 2015-05-26 15:35Z by Steven

Crossed lines

The University of Chicago Magazine
May-June 2015

Lydiayle Gibson


Allyson Hobbs, AM’02, PhD’09. (Photography by Jennifer Pottheiser)

A secret in her own family led Allyson Hobbs, AM’02, PhD’09, to uncover the hidden history of racial passing.

“You know, we have that in our own family too.” That was the bombshell, the offhand remark that plunged historian Allyson Hobbs, AM’02, PhD’09, into a 12-year odyssey to understand racial passing in America—the triumphs and possibilities, secrets and sorrows, of African Americans who crossed the color line and lived as white. As a first-year graduate student at the University of Chicago, Hobbs happened to mention to her aunt the subject of passing, a casual curiosity sparked by the Harlem Renaissance writers she was reading in school. Her aunt responded by telling her the story of a distant cousin from the South Side of Chicago who disappeared into the white world and never returned.

That story opens Hobbs’s book, A Chosen Exile: A History of Racial Passing in American Life (Harvard University Press, 2014), a lyrical, searching, and studious account of the phenomenon from the mid-19th century to the 1950s. Hobbs’s cousin was 18 when she was sent by her mother to live in Los Angeles and pass as a white woman in the late 1930s. “And our cousin—and this was the part of the story that my aunt really underscored—was that our cousin absolutely did not want to do this,” Hobbs says. “She wanted to stay in Chicago; she didn’t want to give up all her friends and the only life she’d ever known.” But her mother was resolved. And so the matter was decided.

Ten or 15 years later, her cousin got what Hobbs calls an “inconvenient phone call.” Her father was dying. And her mother wanted her to come home right away. “And she says to her mother, ‘I can’t come home. I’m a white woman now.’” She was married to a white man; she had white children. “So she never goes back,” Hobbs says.

Many threads weave through A Chosen Exile, released last fall to glowing reviews: the meaning of identity, the elusive concept of race, ever-shifting color lines and cultural borderlands. But by far the book’s most potent thread is about loss. “The core issue of passing is not becoming what you pass for,” Hobbs writes in the prologue, “but losing what you pass away from.” Historians have tended to focus on the privileges and opportunities available to those with white identities. Hobbs reckons with the trauma, alienation, and scars—not only for those who passed, but also for those they left behind. In letters, unpublished family histories, personal papers, sociological journals, court cases, anthropological archives, literature, and film, she finds “a coherent and enduring narrative of loss.”…

Read the entire article here.

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A mixed-race person may be viewed as polluted, defective, confusing or confused, passing, threatening, or—in our diversity-obsessed society—as opportunistic, gaining an advantage by identifying with a group in which he is at best a partial member. These negative associations may be distinguished from those directed at people perceived as monoracial.

Posted in Excerpts/Quotes on 2015-05-26 15:21Z by Steven

I readily acknowledge some overlap between what we might call monoracial and multiracial animus: a racist who dislikes people who she views as Asian might well dislike an individual whom she identifies as part-Asian for some of the same reasons. But viewing someone as part-Asian also lends itself to unique forms of animus not directed at those perceived as monoracial. A mixed-race person may be viewed as polluted, defective, confusing or confused, passing, threatening, or—in our diversity-obsessed society—as opportunistic, gaining an advantage by identifying with a group in which he is at best a partial member. These negative associations may be distinguished from those directed at people perceived as monoracial.

Nancy Leong, “Judicial Erasure of Mixed-Race Discrimination,” American University Law Review, (Volume 59, Number 3, February 2010) 483-484. http://www.wcl.american.edu/journal/lawrev/59/leong.pdf.

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Raising Mixed Race: Multiracial Asian Children in a Post-Racial World

Posted in Asian Diaspora, Books, Family/Parenting, Forthcoming Media, Identity Development/Psychology, Monographs, Social Science, United States on 2015-05-26 13:45Z by Steven

Raising Mixed Race: Multiracial Asian Children in a Post-Racial World

Paradigm Publishers
October 2015
192 pages
Trim size: 6″ x 9″
Hardcover ISBN: 978-1-61205-848-1

Sharon H. Chang

Research continues to uncover early childhood as a crucial time when we set the stage for who we will become. In the last decade, we have also seen a sudden massive shift in America’s racial makeup with the majority of the current under-5 age population being children of color. Asian and multiracial are the fastest growing self-identified groups in the United States. More than 2 million people indicated being mixed race Asian on the 2010 Census. Yet, young multiracial Asian children are vastly underrepresented in the literature on racial identity. Why? And what are these children learning about themselves in an era that tries to be ahistorical, believes the race problem has been “solved,” and that mixed race people are proof of it? This book is drawn from extensive research and interviews with sixty-eight parents of multiracial children. It is the first to examine the complex task of supporting our youngest around being “two or more races” and Asian while living amongst “post-racial” ideologies.

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Mixed Race Stereotypes in South African and American Literature by Diana Adesola Mafe (review)

Posted in Africa, Articles, Book/Video Reviews, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, South Africa, United States on 2015-05-26 01:30Z by Steven

Mixed Race Stereotypes in South African and American Literature by Diana Adesola Mafe (review)

Research in African Literatures
Volume 46, Number 2, Summer 2015
pages 166-168

Tru Leverette, Associate Professor of English
University of North Florida, Jacksonville, Florida

Mafe, Diana Adesola, Mixed Race Stereotypes in South African and American Literature: Coloring Outside the (Black and White) Lines (New York, London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2013)

In her recently published study, Diana Adesola Mafe explores the literary trope of the tragic mulatto through a comparative analysis of American and South African novels. Her work is both useful and timely, filling a gap in the literary study of colouredness and the transnational study of mixed race literature. Through this transnational lens, Mafe argues that the advent of the “age of Obama” and the renewed celebration of race mixture in the United States coincide with South Africa’s post-apartheid efforts to imagine itself as a Rainbow Nation. This celebration in both nations, however, overlooks important historical realities that are often explored through the literary figure of the tragic mulatto. Acknowledging that mulattos have often been “called upon to embody historic national moments” (1), Mafe asserts “a reading of South African fictions alongside American counterparts reveals the ongoing relevance of the tragic mulatto, which functions not only as a dated cliché and cautionary tale but also as a radical embodiment of possibility and a vehicle for social critique” (2). Indeed, Mafe illustrates through her analysis that the tragic mulatto has long functioned as a trope through which American and South African writers have critiqued race, identity, national belonging, and state-sanctioned racism.

Mafe begins her study with the introduction “Tainted Blood: The ‘Tragic Mulatto’ Tradition,” wherein she introduces the celebration of mixture within the contemporary sociopolitical contexts of the United States and South Africa. She also begins to address the tragic mulatto as a historical type. Acknowledging that, in the United States, the tragic mulatto trope developed as an abolitionist tool, Mafe briefly explores its origins in antebellum and postbellum literature. Additionally, she presents a justification for her comparative study, arguing “the tragic mulatto is a provocative keystone for analyzing these American and South African texts, which might otherwise have little else in common. When read alongside each other, these fictions expose mutual histories of stigmatization and marginalization for the mulatto figure” (14).

In chapter one, “God’s Stepchildren: The ‘Tragedy of Being a Halfbreed’ in South African Literature,” Mafe offers a history of miscegenation in South Africa and the United States, allowing her to trace the origins of the coloured and mulatto populations, respectively, in each nation. Having delineated this history, Mafe then turns her attention to the use of colouredness in South African fiction, which, she asserts, was not offered in-depth characterization until the twentieth century: “This development is inextricable from the emergence of colouredness as a ‘new’ social identity, mounting national interest in race categorization, and a literary shift from exploring Anglo-Boer relations to exploring black-white relations” (34). Through analyses of Sarah Gertrude Millin’s eugenicist novel God’s Step-Children and Peter Abrahams’s The Path of Thunder, Mafe establishes the literary origins and original uses of the tragic mulatto trope in South African literature. Throughout, she draws parallels with and highlights divergences from the use of the trope in American literature, in particular Nella Larsen’s Quicksand and Passing and James Weldon Johnson’s Autobiography of an Ex-Colored Man.

In her next chapter, “‘An Unlovely Woman’: Bessie Head’s Mulatta (Re) Vision,” Mafe turns her analysis to the life and work of South African writer Bessie Head, specifically her novel A Question of Power, arguing “this text is a startling conceptualization of the mulatta that parallels but also challenges the efforts of earlier American writers” (59). Mafe explores the stereotype of the beautiful tragic mulatta and Head’s inversion of it through the presentation of an ugly protagonist, simultaneously exploring the novel’s ironic use of madness and its presentation of female sexuality. Since depictions of the tragic mulatta typically position her between the demands of white female respectability and the stereotype of black female passion, Head’s protagonist “destabilizes the exotic and erotic iconography of the mulatta, which is remarkably consistent in the American tradition” (63).

Turning from the tragic mulatta, in chapter three Mafe analyzes presentations of the mulatto man’s sexuality, again torn between “‘white’ propriety and ‘black’ passion” (86) and his filial relationship to his white father. In “‘A Little Yellow Bastard Boy’: Arthur Nortje’s Mulatto Manhood,” Mafe reads the father-son dynamic in…

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