In a new play, Adrienne Dawes delves into racial identity

Posted in Articles, Arts, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, United States on 2014-10-02 02:22Z by Steven

In a new play, Adrienne Dawes delves into racial identity

Austin American-Statesman
Austin, Texas
2014-10-01

Jeanne Claire van Ryzin, Reporter/Arts Critic

Before the dialogue begins, before the first stage direction is explained, the complexities of race and racial identity percolate up from the script of “Am I White,” a new play by Austin writer Adrienne Dawes.

Take the cast list: “Wesley Connor, biracial (passes as white), member of the White Order of Thule,” “Ryan Cahill, white, member of the Aryan Brotherhood” and “Justine Ramos, biracial (could pass as black).”

Ricocheting back and forth in time, seguing into nightmarish scenes played out as a disturbing minstrel show, “Am I White” tells the story of an imprisoned neo-Nazi convicted of plotting terrorist acts who must confront his own mixed-race heritage.

Directed by Jenny Larson, “Am I White” opened Wednesday for a three-week run at Salvage Vanguard Theater.

“Am I White” is based on the true story of Leo Felton, a white supremacist who hid his own mixed-race identity as the child of a short-lived idealistic Civil Rights-era marriage between a black architect and a white former nun…

Read the entire review here.

Tags: , , , , , ,

Latino and Race: Together and Separately

Posted in Articles, Census/Demographics, Latino Studies, Media Archive, Social Science, United States on 2014-10-02 02:03Z by Steven

Latino and Race: Together and Separately

Latino Rebels
2014-10-01

Vilma Ortiz, Professor of Sociology
University of California, Los Angeles

Just when I think that the notion of “white Hispanic” has faded away, several more commentaries continue to appear. All raise important points yet miss others that are equally important. (I want to thank Christina Saenz-Alcánatra for effectively and succinctly explaining the arguments of various commentaries.)

To discuss “white Hispanics,” means to discuss two issues: one is being Latino in the U.S. context and the other is variation in skin color. I argue that these need to be discussed separately and together in order to understand the impact on individuals. Being Latino in the U.S. is frequently a racialized experience, which matters for most members even if they are light-skinned. But that does not negate the additional effect of being dark-skinned in a society that privileges whiteness…

Read thee entire article here.

Tags: ,

Who and What the Hell Is a White Hispanic?

Posted in Articles, Census/Demographics, Latino Studies, Media Archive, Social Science, United States on 2014-10-02 01:56Z by Steven

Who and What the Hell Is a White Hispanic?

Latino Rebels
2014-09-25

Christina Saenz-Alcántara

Since The New York Times’ ridiculous piece in May claiming that more Latinos are identifying as “white” between the 2000 and 2010 Census, Latino and non-Latino commentators alike have been weighing in on the many shades of color within the Latino community and the role of the “white Hispanic” within it. An intense discussion about race also continues on social media. This is not a discussion of Afro-Latinos against white Latinos or the white Spanish against the indigenous. It is more about how Latinos are making sense of the confusing label of the “white Hispanic.” What does it mean to be labeled or take on the label of a “white Hispanic?” Some in our own social media community have attempted to make sense of the term “white Hispanic” as a role within and on behalf of our community. Others have seen it as a product of confusion, while even others have dismissed the identity altogether. In this post, I will go through each of the different ways that the social media community has attempted to understand the question: who and what the hell is a “white Hispanic?”…

…For example, in the U.S., there is the one-drop rule. If you have even one ancestor who is African, Asian, or indigenous, you’re automatically non-white. In Puerto Rico, the one-drop rule is that you are considered white if you have even one white ancestor in the previous four generations (known as the Regla del Sacar or Gracias al Sacar laws). In the U.S., a Latino historically is not white since Latinos by definition are a mixture of Spanish, indigenous, African and Asian blood. Yet in Puerto Rico, a Latino is white if they have just one white ancestor. For academics like Cordero-Guzmán, the  “white Hispanic” is a negotiation between two conflicting racial classifications…

Read the entire article here.

Tags: ,

Born Champions [Full Episode]

Posted in Health/Medicine/Genetics, History, Interviews, Media Archive, Slavery, United States, Videos on 2014-10-02 01:45Z by Steven

Born Champions [Full Episode]

Finding Your Roots with Henry Louis Gates, Jr.
2014-09-30

Henry Louis Gates Jr., Host and Alphonse Fletcher University Professor and Director of the Hutchins Center for African and African American Research
Harvard University

Three of America’s greatest athletes, whose determination and love of sports were deeply shaped by their families, were all cut off from their true origins. Billie Jean King learns the story of her grandmother. Derek Jeter confronts his ancestors’ lives as slaves. Rebecca Lobo finds out that her Spanish ancestor fought side by side with a famous revolutionary.

Watch the full episode here.

Partial Transcript below:

GATES: I’M HENRY LOUIS GATES JR. WELCOME TO FINDING YOUR ROOTS.

TONIGHT, WE REVEAL THE ANCESTRY OF THREE OF AMERICA’S GREATEST ATHLETES: TENNIS LEGEND BILLIE JEAN KING, YANKEES ALL-STAR DEREK JETER, AND WOMEN’S BASKETBALL PIONEER REBECCA LOBO… ATHLETES WHOSE PURPOSE AND DRIVE WERE PROFOUNDLY SHAPED BY THEIR FAMILIES.

TO DISCOVER THEIR ANCESTORS, WE’VE USED EVERY TOOL AVAILABLE…

GENEALOGISTS HELPED STITCH TOGETHER THE PAST USING THE PAPER TRAIL THEIR FAMILIES LEFT BEHIND, WHILE GENETICISTS UTILIZED THE LATEST ADVANCES IN DNA ANALYSIS TO REVEAL SECRETS HUNDREDS OF YEARS OLD.

GATES: The answers are in this book…

GATES VO: AND WE’VE COMPILED EVERYTHING INTO A BOOK OF LIFE, A RECORD OF ALL OF OUR DISCOVERIES…

LOBO: I mean it’s just amazing to see her handwriting!

JETER: That’s unbelievable… all the way back to 1605!

BILLIE JEAN KING: This is from a bible?  Family…we have a family bible?

GATES: Mhm.

BILLIE JEAN KING: This (audio cuts off 1:01:04:12) is fantastic!

GATES: AS WE TRACE BILLIE JEAN, DEREK, AND REBECCA’S ROOTS, WE’LL EXPLORE HOW THEY BECAME CHAMPIONS, DID THEY COME TO GREATNESS THROUGH HARD WORK AND INDIVIDUAL EFFORT? IS THEIR TALENT SIMPLY ENCODED IN THEIR GENES? COULD IT BE, THESE THREE ATHLETES WERE MODELED IN WAYS THEY NEVER COULD HAVE IMAGINED? BY THE LIVES OF THEIR ANCESTORS.

ROOTS TITLE SEQUENCE…

…GATES VO: DEREK’S FATHER, CHARLES JETER, IS AFRICAN-AMERICAN AND HIS MOTHER, DOROTHY CONNORS, IS OF IRISH DESCENT. IT WASN’T EASY BEING THE CHILD OF A MIXED MARRIAGE. WHEN DEREK WAS YOUNG, HE OFTEN HAD TO FACE UNWANTED ATTENTION.

JETER: You know back in the day, yeah you’d get some second glances, people trying to figure out what the dynamic is there. And if you go somewhere with both of them, obviously you get some stares.

GATES: Mhm.

JETER: My parents tried to explain to us that it’s just people’s ignorance they’re not used to seeing it.

GATES: Did your parents take any flack?

JETER: I think when you’re a young child, I think your parents don’t necessarily tell you how difficult it was…

GATES: Yeah.

JETER: …on them. So, you know, a lot of their troubles that they went through, I’m sure they sheltered us from it.

GATES:  So when people come up to you and say, you know, “What are you?” what do you say?

JETER:  Black and Irish…

GATES: Black and Irish, that’s what you say?

JETER: Yeah, that’s, that’s what I believe I am but I don’t know much about my history…

Tags: , , , , , ,

The Race Myth, Racial Disparities in Health, and Why There Are So Few African American Evolutionists

Posted in Anthropology, Health/Medicine/Genetics, Interviews, Media Archive, United States, Videos on 2014-10-02 01:11Z by Steven

The Race Myth, Racial Disparities in Health, and Why There Are So Few African American Evolutionists

Evolution: This View of Life
2012-02-24

David Sloan Wilson, Host and Distinguished Professor of Biology and Anthropology
State University of New York, Binghamton

Joseph L. Graves, Professor & Associate Dean for Research (author of The Race Myth: Why We Pretend Race Exists in America)
Joint School of Nanoscience and Nanoengineering
North Carolina A&T State University & University of North Carolina, Greensboro

In honor of Black History month, we are pleased to present an interview with Joseph L. Graves, a distinguished evolutionist and the first African American to earn a Ph.D. in evolutionary biology. Prof. Graves explains why race is a myth, despite the undeniable fact of local adaptation. He also discusses his own research on aging, how an evolution-savvy diet saved his life, and the surprising reason why African-Americans are even less well represented in evolutionary biology than they are in science.

Tags: , , ,

Lawsuit: Wrong sperm delivered to lesbian couple

Posted in Articles, Health/Medicine/Genetics, Law, United States on 2014-10-01 16:44Z by Steven

Lawsuit: Wrong sperm delivered to lesbian couple

The Chicago Tribune
2014-10-01

Meredith Rodriguez, Tribune reporter

A white Ohio woman is suing a Downers Grove-based sperm bank, alleging that the company mistakenly gave her vials from an African-American donor, a fact that she said has made it difficult for her and her same-sex partner to raise their now 2-year-old daughter in an all-white community.

Jennifer Cramblett, of Uniontown, Ohio, alleges in the lawsuit filed Monday in Cook County Circuit Court that Midwest Sperm Bank sent her the vials of an African-American donor’s sperm in September 2011 instead of those of a white donor that she and her white partner had ordered.

After searching through pages of comprehensive histories for their top three donors, the lawsuit claims, Cramblett and her domestic partner, Amanda Zinkon, chose donor No. 380, who was also white. Their doctor in Ohio received vials from donor No. 330, who is African-American, the lawsuit said.

Cramblett, 36, learned of the mistake in April 2012, when she was pregnant and ordering more vials so that the couple could have another child with sperm from the same donor, according to the lawsuit. The sperm bank delivered vials from the correct donor in August 2011, but Cramblett later requested more vials, according to the suit…

…”On August 21, 2012, Jennifer gave birth to Payton, a beautiful, obviously mixed-race baby girl,” the lawsuit states. “Jennifer bonded with Payton easily and she and Amanda love her very much. Even so, Jennifer lives each day with fears, anxieties and uncertainty about her future and Payton’s future.”

Raising a mixed-race daughter has been stressful in Cramblett and Zinkon’s small, all-white community, according to the suit. Cramblett was raised around people with stereotypical attitudes about nonwhites, the lawsuit states, and did not know African-Americans until she attended college at the University of Akron…

Read the entire article here.

Tags: , , , , , ,

The Myth of Race: The Troubling Persistence of an Unscientific Idea

Posted in Anthropology, Books, Health/Medicine/Genetics, Media Archive, Monographs on 2014-10-01 16:04Z by Steven

The Myth of Race: The Troubling Persistence of an Unscientific Idea

Harvard University Press
October 2014
384 pages
6-1/8 x 9-1/4 inches
4 halftones, 2 line illustrations
Hardcover ISBN: 9780674417311

Robert Wald Sussman, Professor of Physical Anthropology
Washington University, St. Louis, Missouri

Biological races do not exist—and never have. This view is shared by all scientists who study variation in human populations. Yet racial prejudice and intolerance based on the myth of race remain deeply ingrained in Western society. In his powerful examination of a persistent, false, and poisonous idea, Robert Sussman explores how race emerged as a social construct from early biblical justifications to the pseudoscientific studies of today.

The Myth of Race traces the origins of modern racist ideology to the Spanish Inquisition, revealing how sixteenth-century theories of racial degeneration became a crucial justification for Western imperialism and slavery. In the nineteenth century, these theories fused with Darwinism to produce the highly influential and pernicious eugenics movement. Believing that traits from cranial shape to raw intelligence were immutable, eugenicists developed hierarchies that classified certain races, especially fair-skinned “Aryans,” as superior to others. These ideologues proposed programs of intelligence testing, selective breeding, and human sterilization—policies that fed straight into Nazi genocide. Sussman examines how opponents of eugenics, guided by the German-American anthropologist Franz Boas’s new, scientifically supported concept of culture, exposed fallacies in racist thinking.

Although eugenics is now widely discredited, some groups and individuals today claim a new scientific basis for old racist assumptions. Pondering the continuing influence of racist research and thought, despite all evidence to the contrary, Sussman explains why—when it comes to race—too many people still mistake bigotry for science.

Table of Contents

  • List of Abbreviations
  • Introduction
  • 1. Early Racism in Western Europe
  • 2. The Birth of Eugenics
  • 3. The Merging of Polygenics and Eugenics
  • 4. Eugenics and the Nazis
  • 5. The Antidote: Boas and the Anthropological Concept of Culture
  • 6. Physical Anthropology in the Early Twentieth Century
  • 7. The Downfall of Eugenics
  • 8. The Beginnings of Modern Scientific Racism
  • 9. The Pioneer Fund, 1970s–1990s
  • 10. The Pioneer Fund in the Twenty-First Century
  • 11. Modern Racism and Anti-Immigration Policies
  • Conclusion
  • Appendix A: The Eugenics Movement, 1890s–1940s
  • Appendix B: The Pioneer Fund
  • References
  • Acknowledgments
  • Index
Tags: , , ,

Finding Your Roots: The Official Companion to the PBS Series

Posted in Books, Health/Medicine/Genetics, History, Media Archive, Monographs, United States on 2014-10-01 14:51Z by Steven

Finding Your Roots: The Official Companion to the PBS Series

University of North Carolina Press
September 2014
352 pages
6.125 x 9.25, index
Cloth ISBN: 978-1-4696-1800-5

Henry Louis Gates Jr., Alphonse Fletcher University Professor and Director of the Hutchins Center for African and African American Research
Harvard University

Who are we, and where do we come from? The fundamental drive to answer these questions is at the heart of Finding Your Roots, the companion book to the PBS documentary series seen by 30 million people. As Harvard scholar Henry Louis Gates Jr. shows us, the tools of cutting-edge genomics and deep genealogical research now allow us to learn more about our roots, looking further back in time than ever before. Gates’s investigations take on the personal and genealogical histories of more than twenty luminaries, including United States Congressman John Lewis, actor Robert Downey Jr., CNN medical correspondent Sanjay Gupta, President of the “Becoming American Institute” Linda Chavez, and comedian Margaret Cho. Interwoven with their moving stories of immigration, assimilation, strife, and success, Gates provides practical information for amateur genealogists just beginning archival research on their own families’ roots, and he details the advances in genetic research now available to the public. The result is an illuminating exploration of who we are, how we lost track of our roots, and how we can find them again.

Tags: , , ,

Race, Religion and Law in Colonial India: Trials of an Interracial Family by Chandra Mallampalli (review) [Epstein]

Posted in Articles, Asian Diaspora, Book/Video Reviews, History, Law, Media Archive on 2014-09-30 20:42Z by Steven

Race, Religion and Law in Colonial India: Trials of an Interracial Family by Chandra Mallampalli (review) [Epstein]

Victorian Studies
Volume 56, Number 3, Spring 2014
pages 519-520
DOI: 10.1353/vic.2014.0064

James Epstein, Distinguished Professor of History
Vanderbilt University, Nashville, Tennessee

Mallampalli, Chandra, Race, Religion and Law in Colonial India: Trials of an Interracial Family (Cambridge, New York: Cambridge University Press, 2011)

The case of Abraham v. Abraham (1854–63) was extraordinary. It took nearly a decade to decide as it passed through the district civil court at Bellary in southern India, the appeals court at Madras, and finally the Privy Council’s Judicial Committee. The case repeatedly confounded legal categories based alternately on Hindu and English law and the fixed categories of Britain’s post-1857 colonial regime. In Race, Religion and Law in Colonial India, Chandra Mallampalli skillfully guides readers through the intricacies of the case, studying the social world inhabited by one family drawn into litigation and measuring the gap between their life-world and the protocols of the court. The period was one of imperial crisis and transition, as the British Crown assumed direct control over Indian territories following the 1857 Rebellion and authorities adopted a more cautious approach in governing Indian society. As the author writes, the more conservative turn of liberal governance “gave rise to an imperial multiculturalism, a policy of classifying colonial subjects according to race, religion, caste, or ethnicity,” while accentuating the difference between colonial subjects and colonizers (5).

Matthew Abraham was born into a Tamil-speaking family of “untouchables” (paraiyar community) who had converted to Catholicism. He subsequently converted to Protestantism and married Charlotte Fox, a Eurasian of Anglo-Portuguese descent. Matthew was part of the mobile group of camp followers who gravitated to the garrison town of Bellary. Access to the colonial culture centered on Bellary’s cantonment. The town’s thriving bazaar economy gave scope for Matthew’s enterprising talents and ambition; the locality’s social fluidity proved important to his self-fashioning. At the time of his marriage in 1820, he was working in the arsenal and selling military surplus items. Fairly soon he owned a distillery and most crucially was granted the East India Company contract to produce and supply liquor to the troops and local retailers—an irony, given his conversion to Evangelical Protestantism. The family prospered. Matthew assumed English customs and associated predominately with Europeans. He belonged to the class of doras, persons of local prominence, and was identified as an east Indian, a term usually reserved for those of mixed European and native blood. By a twist of fate, an oversight perhaps, the underlying complexities of this personal success story emerged in court records and now again in this fascinating book. Matthew died having left no will. His wife and his brother, Francis, who was involved in the family’s expanding business networks, fell out; they were unable to agree on a settlement or a legal heir, a necessary condition for their business dealings. From Matthew’s death in 1842 until Charlotte filed suit in 1854, the Abrahams “were a family in search of a law” (99). Once the case came to court, it produced a huge archive, with evidence taken from 271 witnesses and a series of conflicting verdicts.

In simplest terms, the case turned on whether Hindu or English law pertained. The Anglo-Indian system of civil or personal law mandated that Indians were governed according to their own laws whether Hindu or Muslim. As Mallampalli notes, a policy initially meant to promote religious tolerance also helped to create the fiction of coherent religious communities. The law seemed incapable of accommodating the intermingling of conditions and fluid identities that characterized the lives of the Abrahams. The legal agency of Charlotte and Francis depended on their ability to exploit the legal options open to them (in a sense, this is true of all legal proceedings). Hindu law worked to the advantage of male heirs. Charlotte and her legal councilors insisted that the family had been completely assimilated into the religion, customs, and lifestyle of Europeans and was therefore subject to English law with its emphasis on individual enterprise and ownership. Matthew’s brother was merely a business agent and subordinate family member. In contrast, Francis argued for continuity with Hindu tradition and his and Matthew’s undivided brotherhood, which would leave him as sole family heir. In this version, despite their Christian religion and European attitudes, the two brothers had been born into a class of persons who continued to observe the practice of Hindu…

Tags: , , , ,

Reading Rivalry, Race, and the Rise of a Southern Middle Class in Charles W. Chesnutt’s The Marrow of Tradition

Posted in Articles, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, United States on 2014-09-30 17:26Z by Steven

Reading Rivalry, Race, and the Rise of a Southern Middle Class in Charles W. Chesnutt’s The Marrow of Tradition

Arizona Quarterly: A Journal of American Literature, Culture, and Theory
Volume 70, Number 3, Autumn 2014
pages 157-184
DOI: 10.1353/arq.2014.0018

Rachel A. Wise, Postdoctoral Fellow
Department of English
University of Texas, Austin

This essay argues that a sustained reading of the courtship plot and Lee Ellis’s role in Charles W. Chesnutt’s The Marrow of Tradition allows us to see the novel as ultimately envisioning a New South in which racial loyalty still trumps middle-class and professional solidarity. It reads the novel’s romantic triangle as a dramatization of the rise of a white middle class whose professional capital overtakes the central role of a plantation-based aristocracy. In the process, this new class remakes a whiteness that fails to significantly challenge either the essential hierarchy of white over black or the bloody lynch law that enforces that hierarchy. Because Ellis, who initially seems one of the least prejudiced whites in the novel, succumbs to race loyalty, his romantic triumph over Tom suggests the hopelessness of any chances for solidarity, highlighting The Marrow of Tradition’s critique of black middle-class enculturation as a viable form of racial uplift.

Tags: , , , , ,