Maryland’s Never Elected A Black Governor, But Neither Have 47 Other States

Posted in Articles, Barack Obama, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, United States on 2014-10-24 20:41Z by Steven

Maryland’s Never Elected A Black Governor, But Neither Have 47 Other States

WYPR 88.1 FM
Baltimore Maryland
2014-10-24

Christopher Connelly, Political Reporter

Before President Barack Obama joined Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown on stage at a get out the vote rally in Prince George’s County Sunday, Dr. Grainger Browning of Ebenezer A.M.E. Church in Fort Washington offered a prayer. Browning thanked God for Obama  and he pointed to the historic nature of Brown’s campaign: If elected, Brown would become not just Maryland’s first black governor, but only the third black governor ever elected in the US.

“Just as Doug Wilder became governor, and just as Duval Patrick became governor, we believe that on November he will become governor of this state of Maryland,” Browning told the mostly African-American audience packed into a high school gym.

But when Brown took to the stage alongside the nation’s first African-American president, neither of them noted the potential of history being made. Throughout his campaign, Brown has not talked much about the precedent he’d achieve.

“He’ll reference his biography, his father being from Jamaica, but there isn’t an overt mention of race,” says Towson University political scientist John Bullock. “It’s more-so ‘let’s talk about education, let’s talk about the environment or health care,’ that sort of ‘rising tides, all Marylanders,’”…

Read the entire article and listen to the story here.

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Mixed Race Amnesia: Resisting the Romanticization of Multiraciality

Posted in Anthropology, Books, Canada, Media Archive, Monographs, Social Science on 2014-10-24 20:16Z by Steven

Mixed Race Amnesia: Resisting the Romanticization of Multiraciality

University of British Columbia Press
2014-10-21
288 pages
6 x 9″
Hardcover ISBN: 978-0-7748-2772-0
Library E-Book: ISBN: 978-0-7748-2774-4

Minelle Mahtani, Associate Professor in the Department of Human Geography and the Program in Journalism
University of Toronto, Scarborough

Mixed Race Amnesia is an ambitious and critical look at how multiraciality is experienced in the global north. Drawing on a series of interviews she conducted with twenty-four women of mixed race, acclaimed geographer Minelle Mahtani explores some of the assumptions and attitudes people have around multiraciality.

She discovers that, in Canada at least, people of mixed race are often romanticized as being the embodiment of a progressive, post-racial future—an ideal that is supported by government policy and often internalized by people of mixed race themselves. As Mahtani reveals, this superficial celebration of multiraciality is often done without any acknowledgment of the freight and legacy of historical racisms. Consequently, a strategic and collective amnesia is taking place—one where complex diasporic and family histories are being lost while Canada’s colonial legacy is being reinforced.

While noting that our “analytical vocabulary for describing the experience of multiraciality is not yet up to the task of telling a more complex story about whiteness, race, diasporic mobility, and grids of racial intelligibility in a white-settler society within what is understood as a multicultural liberal democracy,” Mahtani nevertheless undertakes to give us the tools we need to do this. The result is a book that takes critical race studies in new and exciting directions.

Table of Contents

  • Introduction: Disentangling Our Curious Affection with Mutiraciality
  • 1. Mixed Race Mythologies: Toward an Anticolonial Mixed Race Studies
  • 2. Mixed Race Narcissism? Thoughts on the Interview Experience
  • 3. The Model Multiracial: Propping Up Canadian Multiculturalism through Racial Impotency
  • 4. Beyond the Passing Narrative: Multiracial Whiteness
  • 5. Mongrels, Interpreters, Ambassadors, and Bridges? Mapping Liberal Affinities among Mixed Race Women
  • 6. Mixed Race Scanners: Performing Race
  • 7. Present Tense: The Future of Critical Mixed Race Studies
  • References
  • Index
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William Wells Brown: An African American Life

Posted in Biography, Books, Media Archive, Monographs, Slavery, United States on 2014-10-24 20:15Z by Steven

William Wells Brown: An African American Life

W. W. Norton & Company, Inc.
October 2014
624 pages
6.6 × 9.6 in
Hardcover ISBN: 978-0-393-24090-0

Ezra Greenspan, Edmund J. and Louise W. Kahn Professor of English
Southern Methodist University, Dallas, Texas

A groundbreaking biography of the most pioneering and accomplished African-American writer of the nineteenth century.

Born into slavery in Kentucky, raised on the Western frontier on the farm adjacent to Daniel Boone’s, “rented” out in adolescence to a succession of steamboat captains on the Mississippi and Missouri rivers, the young man known as “Sandy” reinvented himself as “William Wells” Brown after escaping to freedom. He lifted himself out of illiteracy and soon became an innovative, widely admired, and hugely popular speaker on antislavery circuits (both American and British) and went on to write the earliest African American works in a plethora of genres: travelogue, novel (the now canonized Clotel), printed play, and history. He also practiced medicine, ran for office, and campaigned for black uplift, temperance, and civil rights.

Ezra Greenspan’s masterful work, elegantly written and rigorously researched, sets Brown’s life in the richly rendered context of his times, creating a fascinating portrait of an inventive writer who dared to challenge the racial orthodoxies and explore the racial complexities of nineteenth-century America.

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Discussing Race and Education in Brazil

Posted in Articles, Brazil, Campus Life, Caribbean/Latin America, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, Social Science on 2014-10-24 20:08Z by Steven

Discussing Race and Education in Brazil

HASTAC: Humanities, Arts, Science and Technology Alliance and Collaboratory
2014-09-12

Christina Davidson
Department of History
Duke University, Durham, North Carolina

Yesterday at lunch, Maria Lúcia and I sat with a graduate of UFRRJ and an Educação a Distancia tutor for the university, who was headed to the Universidade Federal Fluminense (UFF) in Niterói in the afternoon. The graduate student made a comment about the UFF campus, which caught my attention. “One thing, about UFF is that the students there are mostly white,” he said to me. “Look around you. Here you see that students are all mixed. There are every color, but at UFF they are mostly white.” I was somewhat surprised and to hear his thoughts on the subject of race. I had found it difficult to bring up this subject with students that I had talked with the day before, and I was beginning to wonder if I would ever get Brazilians’ opinions about race and education.

“Why?” I asked. “Why is the student body more white there? I thought things in Brazil are changing.” He responded, “They are, but the UFF campus has always been that way. It is one of the largest public campuses in Rio and it is older. Even though things are changing, it is still noticeable that there are far more white students there.” I again asked why this is the case. The student explained that the area surrounding the university is one of the richest regions per capita of Rio de Janeiro. The people who live there have the money to send their students to private first and secondary educational institutions. These children are then better prepared to take the university’s entrance exam. So, it is not only that people who are richer (and whiter) have more access to the university because of their physical proximity, but they also have the best changes to be accepted to the school because of their educational background. “For these children, an outing is a trip outside of the country,” he commented. “For children of Baixada Fluminense, an outing is going to the park or to the beach. This same sort of divide is noted in the educational experiences between the people who have money and those who live here (Baixada Fluminense).”

Again, I was somewhat surprised by his comments. Yet this time, I was not taken aback by what he was saying, but because through my American eyes neither the student nor Maria Lucia look particularly “black.” In fact, as far as I could tell, they were white, yet they drew a distinction between themselves and other “white” students, especially those at UFF. Maria Lucia explained later that although by her skin color she considered herself white, but her whole culture—who she associated with, her socialization—was black. She said that her parents come from the northeast, a region with a high African-descended population and that her family was mixed. I pointed out, though, that even though people at UFRRJ are more mixed in their color and orientation than perhaps those at UFF, in Brazil people with the darkest skin color disproportionately represent the poorest people in the country. The other graduate student was quick to agree. “That is true,” he said. “That is very true.”  So, how then, do changes in the higher educational system help the darkest and poorest people?…

Read the entire article here.

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Slavery as a system of property facilitated the merger of white identity and property. Because the system of slavery was contingent on and conflated with racial identity, it became crucial to be “white,” to be identified as white, to have the property of being white. Whiteness was the characteristic, the attribute, the property of free human beings.

Posted in Excerpts/Quotes on 2014-10-24 18:23Z by Steven

Because the “presumption of freedom [arose] from color [white]” and the “black color of the race [raised] the presumption of slavery,” whiteness became a shield from slavery, a highly volatile and unstable form of property. In the form adopted in the United States, slavery made human beings market-alienable and in so doing, subjected human life and personhood—that which is most valuable—to the ultimate devaluation. Because whites could not be enslaved or held as slaves, the racial line between white and Black was extremely critical; it became a line of protection and demarcation from the potential threat of commodification, and it determined the allocation of the benefits and burdens of this form of property. White identity and whiteness were sources of privilege and protection; their absence meant being the object of property.

Slavery as a system of property facilitated the merger of white identity and property. Because the system of slavery was contingent on and conflated with racial identity, it became crucial to be “white,” to be identified as white, to have the property of being white. Whiteness was the characteristic, the attribute, the property of free human beings.

Cheryl I. Harris, “Whiteness as Property,” Harvard Law Review, (Volume 106, Number 8, June 1993). 1720-1721.

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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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One Drop: Drexel professor’s new book explores what determines blackness

Posted in Articles, Arts, Media Archive, Social Science, United States on 2014-10-24 17:59Z by Steven

One Drop: Drexel professor’s new book explores what determines blackness

The Philadelphia Inquirer
2013-11-26

UNLESS YOU want an earful, don’t get Drexel University professor Yaba Blay talking about colorism. She sees examples of discrimination based on skin color everywhere – from drug stores that stock skin-bleaching creams to the online chatter that erupts when photos surface of Beyonce and Jay Z’s daughter, Blue Ivy.

“[People say], why doesn’t Beyonce comb that baby’s hair?” Blay said. “You would rather put an entire pack of barrettes on that baby’s hair?”

“I hate that,” I murmured.

“I hate it more,” she shot back. “[People] expect her to look like her mama. . . . She’s 2.”

And don’t bring up the subject of Kanye West, who once famously referred to biracial women as “mutts.”

“Kanye’s choosing Kim [Kardashian] is not about Kim. It’s about Kanye,” said Blay, author of a new book called (1)ne Drop: Shifting the Lens on Race. “He’s obsessed with her. It has to do with what her being on his arm says about him.”

Yeah, Blay went there.

And, let me tell you, the codirector of the Africana Studies program doesn’t hold back in that new book of hers, either. It deals with America’s biggest third-rail issue: race. That subject hasn’t gotten any less explosive since America elected its first black president.

The book is provocative right from its title, taken from the slavery-era notion that if you had one drop of black blood, you were considered black.

Plus, here’s a darker-hued woman writing about the racial experiences of lighter-skinned people, many of whom identify as black or mixed race. That’s an incredibly touchy topic among some black folk because of historical social stratification based on skin color that grants higher status to lighter-hued blacks.

The subject was explored in depth in a documentary called “Dark Girls” that aired recently on the Oprah Winfrey Network.

(1)ne Drop is sort of the reverse…

Read the entire article here.

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“The Box Marked Black” is coming to Willamette University Oct. 24-25

Posted in Articles, Arts, Autobiography, Forthcoming Media, United States on 2014-10-24 12:09Z by Steven

“The Box Marked Black” is coming to Willamette University Oct. 24-25

Willamette University News
Salem, Oregon
2014-10-02

What does it mean to be black? Is it the shade of your skin or the kink in your hair? Is it learned?

These questions are explored in “The Box Marked Black: Tales from a Halfrican American growing up Mulatto. With sock puppets!” Written and performed by Damaris Webb and directed by Debra Disbrow, the play is debuting at Willamette University Oct. 24-25.

“In exploring the story of my blackness and unpacking my personal relationship to identity, race and culture, it quickly became clear that the best form for this exploration was as a solo piece,” Webb says. “Hopefully, telling my story will create space for others to unpack and breathe around their own varied identities.”

With only Jenny Willis from “The Jeffersons” as a guide, Webb’s narrative uses direct storytelling, modern dance, song and puppetry to share the perspectives of both sides of her interracial family…

For more information, click here.

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Performance added for one-woman play at Willamette U.

Posted in Articles, Arts, Autobiography, Media Archive, United States on 2014-10-24 12:08Z by Steven

Performance added for one-woman play at Willamette U.

The Salem Statesman-Journal
Salem, Oregon
2014-10-13

Tom Mayhall Rastrelli, Fine Arts & Culture Writer

Damaris Webb will debut her one-woman play “The Box Marked Black: Tales from a Halfrican American growing up Mulatto. With sock puppets!” at 7:30 p.m. Oct. 24 and 25 at M. Lee Pelton Theatre, Willamette University, 900 State St. According to the box office, the performance Oct. 24 is sold out, but the recently-added performance Oct. 25 has many tickets available.

Using Jenny Willis from “The Jeffersons” as a guide, Webb will narrate her experience of living in an interracial family with storytelling, dance, song and puppetry. The play asks what it means to be black, but it’s themes of abandonment, belonging, fear and acceptance, are universal.

“Hopefully, telling my story will create space for others to unpack and breathe around their own varied identities,” Webb said…

Read the entire article here.

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Revisiting Middlebury’s Racial History

Posted in Articles, Biography, Campus Life, History, Media Archive, Slavery, United States on 2014-10-23 19:55Z by Steven

Revisiting Middlebury’s Racial History

The Middlebury Campus
Middlebury College
Middlebury, Vermont
2014-03-19

Conor Grant, Managing Editor


Alexander Twilight Hall, a building named in honor of Alexander Twilight of the class of 1823, is just one part of the complicated legacy of America’s first black college graduate. (Courtesy/Middlebury)

Alexander Twilight Hall — the austere brick building separating the town from Middlebury College — is named for Alexander Twilight, the 1823 Middlebury College graduate who is known today as the first American black college graduate.

Today, Twilight is widely touted as an example of Middlebury’s rich legacy of inclusivity and racial diversity.

But who exactly was Alexander Twilight? Was he really the first black man at Middlebury?

The answer to that question is more complicated than it might first appear…

Read the entire article here.

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