“Cultural and ethnic labels do not lend themselves to neat boundaries. ‘Métis’ can refer to the historic Métis community in Manitoba’s Red River Settlement or it can be used as a general term for anyone with mixed European and Aboriginal heritage.”

Posted in Excerpts/Quotes on 2017-11-25 02:45Z by Steven

“There is no consensus on who is considered Métis or a non-status Indian, nor need there be,” the court wrote. “Cultural and ethnic labels do not lend themselves to neat boundaries. ‘Métis’ can refer to the historic Métis community in Manitoba’s Red River Settlement or it can be used as a general term for anyone with mixed European and Aboriginal heritage.” For eastern Métis, proof of the latter is enough. Their organizations typically accept anyone who can provide a genealogical chart showing an Indigenous ancestor.

Graeme Hamilton, “Who gets to be Metis? As more people self-identify, critics call out opportunists,” National Post, November 23, 2017. http://nationalpost.com/news/canada/who-gets-to-be-metis-as-more-people-self-identify-critics-call-out-opportunists.

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The Skyscraper’s Unseeing Eyes: Louis Sullivan, Nella Larsen, and Racial Formalism

Posted in Articles, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, Passing, United States on 2017-11-25 02:26Z by Steven

The Skyscraper’s Unseeing Eyes: Louis Sullivan, Nella Larsen, and Racial Formalism

American Literature
Volume 89, Issue 3
2017-09-01
DOI: 10.1215/00029831-4160846

Sue Shon

Since its inception, the skyscraper has served as an icon of American innovation, modernity, and freedom. Upholding this image has erased the racial thinking and racist practices foundational to this born-and-bred American architectural form. This essay restores the import of race to the skyscraper by reading formalist theories by the father of modern architecture, Louis Sullivan, alongside a work of African American modernist fiction, Nella Larsen’s Passing (1929). Reading Sullivan alongside Larsen explains how skyscrapers and blackness together have defined what gets seen as modern. The unexpected pairing reveals the visual racial logics built into skyscraper aesthetics and adds an architectural thread to the well-established scholarship on Larsen’s novel.

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Who gets to be Metis? As more people self-identify, critics call out opportunists

Posted in Articles, Canada, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, Native Americans/First Nation on 2017-11-24 22:38Z by Steven

Who gets to be Metis? As more people self-identify, critics call out opportunists

National Post
2017-11-23

Graeme Hamilton


Robin Robichaud shows his t-shirt after a meeting for the Wobtegwa aboriginal community, a new Metis group.
Christinne Muschi /National Post

The arrival of new players is stirring up tension with established Métis groups and raising concern among First Nations leaders

SHERBROOKE, Que. – The scent of burning sage lingers in the air as drummers begin a song of welcome. They are traditions dating back centuries, but on this Sunday afternoon the ceremony opens a gathering of one of the country’s youngest Aboriginal groups — the two-year-old Wobtegwa Métis clan.

The meeting, held in a high school auditorium, has brought together members from a corner of Quebec stretching northeast from Montreal past Quebec City and south to the United States border. Some of those present have long known of their Indigenous roots; for others the discovery has come recently. But they have all come together to push for government recognition of their rights.

“This clan is sovereign on its territory,” Yves Cordeau, band chief for the Lac-Mégantic region informs the group.

If the claim comes as news to many in Quebec, it’s because the province’s Métis awakening is recent. Raynald Robichaud, the Wobtegwa’s clan chief, says even members of his own family discouraged him from returning to his Aboriginal roots. “We knew we had a great-grandmother who was aboriginal, but our family absolutely did not want to talk about it, because they were afraid,” he says. “For us now, the fear is gone, and people are coming back.”…

…Checking a box on a census or connecting to family heritage is one thing. But as groups like the Wobtegwa lay claim to special services and territorial rights — in some cases, the same land as other Aboriginal groups — a backlash to the influx of new Métis is emerging. Some critics question the motivation of those who “become” Métis, and the impact of their activism on more established groups. Others question the right to self-identify at all…

…Leroux, Gaudry and organizations representing western Métis maintain that mixed ancestry alone does not make one Métis. True Métis — as recognized by the Constitution as one of Canada’s three aboriginal groups — must have roots in Manitoba’s historic Red River settlement, they say. That can include Métis all the way west to British Columbia and into Ontario, but not as far east as Quebec and the Maritimes

Read the entire article here.

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How The U.S. Defines Race And Ethnicity May Change Under Trump

Posted in Articles, Audio, Census/Demographics, Latino Studies, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, United States on 2017-11-23 16:51Z by Steven

How The U.S. Defines Race And Ethnicity May Change Under Trump

All Things Considered
National Public Radio
2017-11-23

Hansi Lo Wang


The Trump administration is expected to announce possible changes to how the U.S. government collects information about race and ethnicity by Dec. 1.
Chelsea Beck/NPR

Some major changes may be coming to how the U.S. government collects data about the country’s racial and ethnic makeup.

The Trump administration has been considering proposals to ask about race and ethnicity in a radical new way on the 2020 Census and other surveys that follow standards set by the White House.

Introduced when President Obama was still in office, the proposed changes could result in a fundamental shift in how the government counts the Latino population.

Another proposal would create a new checkbox on the census form for people with roots in the Middle East or North Africa, or MENA, which would be the first ethnic or racial category to be added in decades.

The White House’s Office of Management and Budget is expected to release a decision on these proposals by Dec. 1, but an announcement may come out before the end of the month…

Read the entire article here. Listen to the story here. Read the transcript here.

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Myth of race still embedded in scientific research, scholar says

Posted in Articles, Health/Medicine/Genetics, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, Social Science, United States on 2017-11-21 04:08Z by Steven

Myth of race still embedded in scientific research, scholar says

Cornell Chronicle
2017-11-20

Susan Kelley
Telephone: 607-255-9737


Dorothy Roberts, professor of law, Africana studies and sociology at the University of Pennsylvania, speaks Nov. 15 in Klarman Hall.
Chris Kitchen/University Photography

The concept of “race” – the idea that humans are naturally divided into biologically distinct groups – has been definitively proven false. But the 21st century has seen a disturbing increase in scientists inaccurately presenting race as the reason for racial inequality, says an acclaimed scholar of race, gender and law.

“Social scientists absolutely should engage with this rise of racial science to work on research designs that account for structural racism and state violence and that confront the racial politics of science … and unabashedly put racial justice at the center,” said Dorothy Roberts Nov. 15.

Roberts, a professor of professor of law, Africana studies and sociology at the University of Pennsylvania, spoke on “Racism and the New Racial Science” at the 2017 Institute for the Social Sciences’ Annual Lecture in Klarman Hall.

There has been a long legacy of scientists presenting the concept of biological race as an explanation for racial inequality, Roberts said. European typologists created the idea of race in the 17th century to support slavery, colonialism and the conquest of people whom they defined as separate and inferior, Roberts said…

Read the entire article here.

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My mother spent her life passing as white. Discovering her secret changed my view of race — and myself.

Posted in Articles, Biography, Louisiana, Media Archive, Passing, United States on 2017-11-21 03:34Z by Steven

My mother spent her life passing as white. Discovering her secret changed my view of race — and myself.

The Washington Post
2017-11-20

Gail Lukasik


The author’s mother, Alvera Fredric, was born into a black family in New Orleans but spent her life passing as white. (Family photo)

I’d never seen my mother so afraid.

“Promise me,” she pleaded, “you won’t tell anyone until after I die. How will I hold my head up with my friends?”

For two years, I’d waited for the right moment to confront my mother with the shocking discovery I made in 1995 while scrolling through the 1900 Louisiana census records. In the records, my mother’s father, Azemar Frederic of New Orleans, and his entire family were designated black.

The discovery had left me reeling, confused and in need of answers. My sense of white identity had been shattered.

My mother’s visit to my home in Illinois seemed like the right moment. This was not a conversation I wanted to have on the phone.

But my mother’s fearful plea for secrecy only added to my confusion about my racial identity. As did her birth certificate that I obtained from the state of Louisiana, which listed her race as “col” (colored), and a 1940 Louisiana census record, which listed my mother, Alvera Frederic, as Neg/Negro, working in a tea shop in New Orleans. Four years later, she moved north and married my white father…

Read the entire article here.

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No doubt I am mixed, but I’m mixed and black. Blackness can accommodate mixedness, in a way that whiteness, with its myths of purity cannot.

Posted in Excerpts/Quotes on 2017-11-20 04:55Z by Steven

No doubt I am mixed, but I’m mixed and black. Blackness can accommodate mixedness, in a way that whiteness, with its myths of purity cannot. In some contexts I am black, in others mixed, sometimes I am Irish, others Nigerian (white is still off limits), but I am always me, always with the potential to identify as any of these things.

Emma Dabiri, “Emma: On Whether Irish Black People Are Woke, and on Changing “Foreign” Names,” Dublin Inquirer, October 25, 2017. https://www.dublininquirer.com/2017/10/25/emma-on-whether-irish-black-people-are-woke-and-on-changing-foreign-names/.

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Multiracials and Civil Rights: Mixed-Race Stories of Discrimination

Posted in Books, Census/Demographics, Forthcoming Media, Law, Monographs, Politics/Public Policy, Social Science, United States on 2017-11-20 04:52Z by Steven

Multiracials and Civil Rights: Mixed-Race Stories of Discrimination

New York University Press
2018-08-03
224 pages
Cloth ISBN: 9781479830329

Tanya Katerí Hernández, Archibald R. Murray Professor of Law
Fordham University School of Law, New York, New York

Narratives of mixed-race people bringing claims of racial discrimination in court, illuminating traditional understandings of civil rights law

As the mixed-race population in the United States grows, public fascination with multiracial identity has promoted the belief that racial mixture will destroy racism. However, multiracial people still face discrimination. Many legal scholars hold that this is distinct from the discrimination faced by people of other races, and traditional civil rights laws built on a strict black/white binary need to be reformed to account for cases of discrimination against those identifying as mixed-race.

In Multiracials and Civil Rights, Tanya Katerí Hernández debunks this idea, and draws on a plethora of court cases to demonstrate that multiracials face the same types of discrimination as other racial groups. Hernández argues that multiracial people are primarily targeted for discrimination due to their non-whiteness, and shows how the cases highlight the need to support the existing legal structures instead of a new understanding of civil rights law.

Coming at a time when explicit racism is resurfacing, Hernández’s look at multiracial discrimination cases is essential for fortifying the focus of civil rights law on racial privilege and the lingering legacy of bias against non-whites, and has much to teach us about how to move towards a more egalitarian society.

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Soma Text: Living, Writing, and Staging Racial Hybridity

Posted in Books, Canada, Forthcoming Media, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Monographs on 2017-11-20 04:50Z by Steven

Soma Text: Living, Writing, and Staging Racial Hybridity

Wilfrid Laurier University Press
June 2018
295 pages
ISBN13: 978-1-77112-240-5

Michelle La Flamme, Professor of English
University of the Fraser Valley, Abbotsford, British Columbia, Canada

Canada’s history is bicultural, Indigenous, and multilingual, and these characteristics have given risen to a number of strategies used by our writers to code racially mixed characters. This book examines contemporary Canadian literature and drama in order to tease out some of those strategies and the social and cultural factors that inform them.

Racially hybrid characters in literature have served a matrix of needs. They are used as shorthand for interracial desire, signifiers of taboo love, images of impurity, symbols of degeneration, and examples of beauty and genetic perfection. Their fates have been used to suggest the futility of marrying across racial lines, or the revelation of their “one drop” signals a climactic downfall. Other narratives suggest mixed-race bodies are foundational to colonization and signify contact between colonial and Indigenous bodies.

Author Michelle LaFlamme approaches racial hybridity with a cross-generic and cross-racial approach, unusual in the field of hybridity studies, by analyzing characters with different racial mixes in autobiographies, fiction, and drama. Her analysis privileges literary texts and the voices of artists rather than sociological explanations of the mixed-race experience. The book suggests that the hyper-visualization of mixed-race bodies in mono-racial contexts creates a scopophilic interest in how those bodies look and perform race.

La Flamme’s term “soma text” draws attention to the constructed, performative aspects of this form of embodiment. The writers she examines witness that living in a racially hybrid and ambiguous body is a complex engagement that involves reading and decoding the body in sophisticated ways, involving both the multiracial body and the racialized gaze of the onlooker.

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Emma: On Whether Irish Black People Are Woke, and on Changing “Foreign” Names

Posted in Articles, Europe, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive on 2017-11-20 04:46Z by Steven

Emma: On Whether Irish Black People Are Woke, and on Changing “Foreign” Names

Dublin Inquirer
2017-10-25

Emma Dabiri


Illustration by Rob Mirolo

Do you think Irish black people are woke? What’s being woke? Is there any civil-rights movement? You’re mixed race, so are you black? Africa: would someone like yourself get the culture? What did you get culture-wise from your father’s side? Irish people come across as just trying to look for one person they can say… Yes, here is our black successful person, as opposed to uplift black Irish people in general […] In Dublin, Pavee Point has a centre. The LGBT community has Outhouse. Why do you think ethnic minorities don’t have such a place?

Cheeky! This is like 10 questions but I like ‘em, so let’s go. Let’s start with explaining “woke”. “Staying woke” refers to questioning the dominant paradigm, and occupying a state of awareness about structural oppressions.

The phrase “staying woke” has some early references in the 1960s, it was then further popularised in the 2008 song “Master Teacher” by Erykah Badu, but really caught on following the wave of protest after the 2014 shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson and the subsequent rise of Black Lives Matter. In 2016, “woke” entered into the Oxford Dictionary

…Am I black? Gosh you aren’t shying away from the big questions, now are ye? But yes, I identify as black. The thing is, despite being told I was black (and often not so politely) my whole damn life, and often being reminded that I wasn’t “really Irish”, my claiming of my blackness still elicits occasional cries of “But what about your ma?” or “You’re erasing your Irishness!” Blah blah di blah blah blah.

I think what we really need to look at is why a person with a white parent can identify as black, but why a person with a black parent can rarely, if ever, identify as white. We have to stop acting as though racial constructions are rational or ordered. They are not. I always say that you cannot be “half white”. You are either white or you’re not. And I’m not…

Read the entire article here.

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