Making Race in the Courtroom: The Legal Construction of Three Races in Early New Orleans

Posted in Books, History, Law, Louisiana, Monographs, United States on 2014-09-22 17:53Z by Steven

Making Race in the Courtroom: The Legal Construction of Three Races in Early New Orleans

New York University Press
September 2014
272 pages
1 figure, 2 tables illustrations
Cloth ISBN: 9780814724316

Kenneth R. Aslakson, Associate Professor of History
Union College, Schenectady, New York

No American city’s history better illustrates both the possibilities for alternative racial models and the role of the law in shaping racial identity than New Orleans, Louisiana, which prior to the Civil War was home to America’s most privileged community of people of African descent. In the eyes of the law, New Orleans’s free people of color did not belong to the same race as enslaved Africans and African-Americans. While slaves were “negroes,” free people of color were gens de couleur libre, creoles of color, or simply creoles. New Orleans’s creoles of color remained legally and culturally distinct from “negroes” throughout most of the nineteenth century until state mandated segregation lumped together descendants of slaves with descendants of free people of color.

Much of the recent scholarship on New Orleans examines what race relations in the antebellum period looked as well as why antebellum Louisiana’s gens de couleur enjoyed rights and privileges denied to free blacks throughout most of the United States. This book, however, is less concerned with the what and why questions than with how people of color, acting within institutions of power, shaped those institutions in ways beyond their control. As its title suggests, Making Race in the Courtroom argues that race is best understood not as a category, but as a process. It seeks to demonstrate the role of free people of African-descent, interacting within the courts, in this process.

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Elizabeth Liang finds home: Performance at Williams College ’62 Center

Posted in Articles, Arts, Asian Diaspora, Media Archive, United States on 2014-09-22 17:36Z by Steven

Elizabeth Liang finds home: Performance at Williams College ’62 Center

The Berkshire Eagle
Pittsfield, Massachusetts
2014-09-17

Madeline Vuong, Special to Berkshires Week & Shires of Vermont

WILLIAMSTOWN — “Where are you from?”

It’s an easy question on the surface, but a more complicated matter if you’re Elizabeth Liang, a child of mixed-race parentage, who grew up in six different countries — Guatemala, Costa Rica, Panama, Morocco, Egypt and the United States.

“‘Where are you from?’ was a question I got with almost boring regularity,” Liang said.

But as soon as she tried to answer, many people’s eyes glazed over, she said, and they assumed she and they had nothing in common. She learned not to talk about her life experiences.

“I listened instead,” she said.

She didn’t want to sound as though she were bragging, or as though she thought she was more worldly than her peers, she said, because that would isolate her more.

But after a childhood of staying quiet and trying to blend in, Liang decided she needed to talk openly about the experience of growing up internationally, especially as a mixed-race woman. Drawing on her training as a professional actor, she created a solo show, “Alien Citizen,” which she will perform tonight at the ‘62 Center at Williams College.

“[My show is] very personal, from a kid and teen’s perspective of living in these countries,” Liang said: “What it’s like to bike to school in a Cairo suburb, what Christmas in Guatemala is like, what it feels like to get stuck in a sandstorm on the sidewalks of Casablanca. And because I’m a kid and teenager through most of the show, there’s all the first love and crushes, and caring-about-being-cool stuff, too…

Read the entire article here.

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Number of multiracial students on rapid rise

Posted in Articles, Asian Diaspora, Campus Life, Media Archive on 2014-09-22 17:16Z by Steven

Number of multiracial students on rapid rise

The Korean Times
2014-09-21

Kim Se-jeong

The number of elementary, middle and high school students from multiracial families soared to a record high of 67,806 as of April, the Ministry of Education said Sunday.

That accounted for 1.07 percent of the 6.33 million total and is the first time the group has surpassed the 1 percent mark, according to the ministry.

It was also a sharp increase from last year’s 55,780 ― the total is projected to reach 100,000 in three years.

Most of the children had Korean fathers and foreign born mothers and the majority of the latter came from China followed by Japan, Vietnam, the Philippines, Thailand and Mongolia. In the case of Vietnam, the number of children almost doubled last year’s total of 6,310…

Read the entire article here.

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Poverty, environment helped set Toledo teens on path to murder

Posted in Articles, Law, Media Archive, Social Work, United States on 2014-09-22 17:07Z by Steven

Poverty, environment helped set Toledo teens on path to murder

The Toledo Blade
Toledo, Ohio
2014-09-21

Roneisha Mullen, Staff Writer

Rose Russell, Staff Writer

First of two parts

By the time Shamus Groom was 11 years old, he was already drinking alcohol and smoking marijuana. At 14, he saw a gun for the first time, and at 15, he was occasionally “packing.”

In 2000, Groom, who moved from Adrian to Toledo as a teen, was sentenced to 15 years to life for the 1998 shooting death of a 20-year-old North Toledo man. The victim was gunned down by Groom’s half brother over a drug deal that went bad; Groom was present during the shooting.


Shamus Groom, serving 15 years to life in the Belmont Correctional Institution in St. Clairsville, Ohio, says he and his younger brother were bounced around the homes of family members.
THE BLADE/AMY E. VOIGT

Printess Williams, a lifelong Toledoan, pleaded guilty in 2003 to killing four people — two in 1994 when he was 16, and two in 2002 when he was 24. He was sentenced to 151 years in state prison.

Groom and Williams are both black men. While violent crime isn’t limited to the black race, there appears to be something awry when significant numbers of young black males are landing in one of two places: graveyards or prisons.

Looking at their lives, it can be argued the environment Williams and Groom grew up in contributed as much to them becoming killers as their own decisions…

…The chain of events that led to the murder convictions of Groom and Williams began long before shots rang out claiming the lives of almost half a dozen Toledoans.

Born to a teenage mother and absentee father, Shamus Groom never fully knew what it meant to have a stable home. He and his younger brother, both of mixed race, bounced around the homes of family members while his mother worked odd jobs to take care of them. The boys were left with their “foster grandmother” when their mother moved out of the country to be with her new husband, who was in the military.

“They took care of us, but we felt like outcasts, like guests,” Groom said during an hourlong interview at Belmont Correctional Institution, a state prison in St. Clairsville, Ohio, near the Ohio-West Virginia line, where he’s serving his sentence. “We knew we didn’t belong there, and they reminded us all the time.”…

Read the entire article here.

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Afro-Latinos Seek Recognition, And Accurate Census Count

Posted in Articles, Census/Demographics, Latino Studies, Media Archive, United States on 2014-09-21 18:00Z by Steven

Afro-Latinos Seek Recognition, And Accurate Census Count

NBC News
2014-09-21

Raul A. Reyes

NEW YORK, NY — Hispanic Heritage Month is a time to recognize the contributions of Latinos in the U.S., yet one group often feels left out of the Hispanic community. Afro-Latinos say that they struggle with acceptance from both Latinos and African-Americans. Now they are seeking recognition, acceptance – and an accurate count of their numbers. As was discussed at a recent Afro-Latino Forum conference in New York City, Latino advocates and educators are working with the U.S. Census Bureau to help make it easier for mixed-race Hispanics to report their background on the 2020 Census.

The Census Bureau reports that in the 2010 Census, 2.5 percent of the 54 million Hispanics in the U.S. also identified as black – a figure that many say is an undercount. “I believe that what were hearing from the Afro-Latino community is that they do not believe that those numbers accurately illustrate the Afro-Latino community presence in the United States, and that’s the dialogue that we’re having,” said Nicholas Jones, chief of the Bureau’s Racial Statistics Branch.

The Bureau is currently weighing changes in how it asks about race and ethnicity. In the 2010 Census, while over half of Hispanics identified themselves as white, 36 percent checked “some other race.” The significant number of Latinos who did not see themselves in traditional racial categories has led the Bureau to consider offering a combined race/ethnicity question for 2020, offering “Hispanic/Latino/Spanish origin” as a choice.

The combined race/ethnicity approach is still controversial. Some Afro-Latinos support the idea because they believe it would make the Census more accurate. Others worry that it would encourage Hispanics to think of themselves as a separate race…

…“Among Latinos, the idea of talking about mixed race can still be taboo,” said Ed Morales, adjunct professor at Columbia University’s Center for the Study of Ethnicity and Race. “It’s easier to say that you’re Dominican or Mexican, rather than delve into your racial background.” He attributes this to the traditional cultural forces at play in Hispanic culture. “In our own families, there is not a lot of discussion of being mixed race, there is not a lot of open acknowledgement of it.”…

Read the entire article here.

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The Privilege of White Hispanic: Leaving Out the Rest

Posted in Articles, Census/Demographics, Latino Studies, Media Archive, Social Science, United States on 2014-09-21 17:32Z by Steven

The Privilege of White Hispanic: Leaving Out the Rest

Latino Voices
The Huffington Post
2014-09-09

César Vargas, Writer, director, activist

People talk so much about Latinos denying their Blackness, but bring up the term “white Latino” and you will see an extreme reaction, visceral attack from white Latinos themselves. Tactics such as (and I’m pretty sure you’ve read this a lot from racist Americans): Stop talking about race, Latinos aren’t racist, white and Black Latinos are still treated the same, your language is divisive. They love to pretend they don’t enjoy privileges afforded to them when they identify as Latino or Hispanic.

Embracing Latino or Hispanic has not benefitted Indigenous folks, Chicanos or Afro-Latinos because it has been robbed from the rest of us by white Latinos for their own agenda: money and political powers with brands, sponsors, the government, publications, grants, you name it.

We are here to demand to be included in Latinoness and not just with a label so we can be targeted for political and monetary gain: with positions in the government, with positions as brand ambassadors, with positions in both the film industry and TV networks. With jobs…

Read the entire article here.

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Hapa-palooza 2014 is coming: Mark Your Calendars!

Posted in Canada, Forthcoming Media, Live Events on 2014-09-21 06:32Z by Steven

Hapa-palooza 2014 is coming: Mark Your Calendars!

Vancouver, Canada
2014-09-24 through 2014-09-28

Hapa-palooza is Canada’s biggest festival celebrating mixed-roots identity, scheduled for every September in Vancouver, Canada.

This year, Hapa-palooza takes place September 24-28, 2014, marking our four year anniversary.

Hapa-palooza Festival is organized by the Hybrid Ancestry Public Arts Society, a non-profit society dedicated to bringing public programming that explores and celebrates mixed ancestry.

For details on 2014 programming, click here!

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GUEST COLUMN: Brazil’s solution on race relations differs from U.S.

Posted in Articles, Brazil, Caribbean/Latin America, History, Media Archive, Social Science, United States on 2014-09-19 21:36Z by Steven

GUEST COLUMN: Brazil’s solution on race relations differs from U.S.

The Tuscaloosa News
Tuscaloosa, Alabama
2014-09-13

Larry Clayton, Professor of History Emeritus
University of Alabama

I had a friend from the Dominican Republic who came to the University of Alabama and Stillman College on a joint Fulbright appointment years ago. He was a well-known and respected poet and writer in his own land and, after a few months, he remarked to me, “Larry, I didn’t realize I was a black until I came to this country!”

The question of race, such a painful and rancorous illness in American society, has not played out the same in other countries with similar historical backgrounds.

A few years ago, Carl Degler wrote a Pulitzer Prize-winning study titled “Neither Black nor White: Slavery and Race Relations in Brazil and the United States.” His theme was summarized in the phrase the “mulatto escape hatch.” Degler compared the role of race in the histories of Brazil and the U.S.

Degler was curious: Why was Brazil thought to be a “racial democracy” of sorts, while the United States was fighting its way out of segregation? Both countries had had large African slave populations — Brazil’s much larger than America’s — both had emancipated the slaves in the 19th century, both were functioning republics and both were colonized by European settlers. So, why such different racial trajectories?

The difference was the “mulatto escape hatch,” or the ability of people of mixed races in Brazil to rise up and integrate across Brazilian society without their color or background being held against them…

Read the entire article here.

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The Octoroon: A Tragic Mulatto Enslaved by 1 Drop

Posted in Arts, Europe, History, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, Slavery on 2014-09-19 21:25Z by Steven

The Octoroon: A Tragic Mulatto Enslaved by 1 Drop

The Root
2014-09-09

Image of the Week: A sculpture addresses the ramifications for those who were mixed-race.


John Bell, The Octoroon, 1868. Marble, 159.6 cm high. Town Hall, Blackburn, U.K.

This image is part of a weekly series that The Root is presenting in conjunction with the Image of the Black Archive & Library at Harvard University’s Hutchins Center for African and African American Research.

Though it would hardly seem likely at first glance, this pallid image of slavery directly addresses the condition of black bondage. To all appearances, the young woman seen here represents a white captive. Except for her chains, she could pass for a conventional likeness of Venus, the classical goddess of love. As indicated by the inscription on the base of the statue, she is instead an octoroon—that is, an exceptionally light-skinned person of mixed race, technically defined as one-eighth black and the rest white.

The condition was reached by gradual degrees of miscegenation, or racial mixing, until the complexion of an individual often became indistinguishable from a person of “pure” white ancestry. In race-conscious societies, the prospect of racial mixture could threaten the precarious stability of the dominant order. The position of the octoroon along the edge of this fragile divide afforded some degree of maneuverability, often termed “passing.” Before the abolition of slavery, however, such light-skinned mulattoes faced the even more likely prospect of a life in bondage…

This demure, pensive vision of miscegenation and its dire consequences was made by the popular British sculptor John Bell. Through artfully constructed layers of sentimentality and aesthetic contrivance emerges one of the primary justifications for the enslavement of a whole group of human beings: the notion of one drop of black blood, the “drop sinister,” by which a light-skinned person could be consigned to a life of bondage…

Read the entire article here.

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Color Lines Are Blurred in ABC Comedy ‘Black-Ish’

Posted in Articles, Book/Video Reviews, Media Archive, United States on 2014-09-19 18:29Z by Steven

Color Lines Are Blurred in ABC Comedy ‘Black-Ish’

The Associated Press
2014-09-19

Frazier Moore, Television Writer

BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. (AP) — Tracee Ellis Ross delivers perhaps the funniest line you’ll hear on a sitcom this fall.

The character she plays on ABC’s comedy “black-ish” is, like Ross, an appealing mix of beauty, smarts and zaniness. She is totally plausible as a savvy mother of four and the loving wife of an up-and-coming ad exec (co-star Anthony Anderson), not to mention a busy anesthesiologist.

In this upscale African-American family, Dr. Rainbow Johnson also happens to be biracial. This occasionally spurs Andre, her hubby, who’s forever fretting about the family’s black cred, to question whether she is certifiably “black.”

He does this in the series’ premiere, to which, unfazed, Rainbow fires back, “If I’m not really black, then could someone please tell my hair and my ass!”

Reminded of that line during a recent interview, Ross cracks up.

“That’s what I love about our show,” she says. “With that line, my character sums it all up: ‘Are you STILL coming from the world that believes all black people are the same and all black people should think the same? C’mon, Dre!’”

With remarkable humor and finesse, “black-ish” (which debuts Sept. 24 at 9:30 p.m. EDT) addresses race, culture, socio-economics and other weighty matters…

Read the entire article here.

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