Afro-Latinos: a vision of Houston’s mixed-race future

Posted in Anthropology, Articles, Arts, Census/Demographics, Latino Studies, Media Archive, Texas, United States on 2016-12-05 01:58Z by Steven

Afro-Latinos: a vision of Houston’s mixed-race future

The Houtson Chronicle
Houston, Texas

Olivia P. Tallet, Reporter

Afro-Latinos embody Texas’ mixed-race future

It happens all the time. At the taco truck, Raul Orlando Edwards placed his fajita order: “Señorita, por favor, póngale la cebolla bien cocida” (“I’d like the onions well-done.”)

“Man,” said the African-American behind him in line, “how did you learn to do that?” Meaning: Why, for a black man, is your Spanish so good?

“I’m Latino,” Edwards answered. The director of the Strictly Street Salsa Studio and founder of the Afro-Latino Festival of Houston, he’s a Panamanian-Jamaican immigrant.

The guy stated the obvious: “I thought you were black!”

“I’m blacker than you are!” Edwards replied. And, he says, they laughed.

These days, in both Texas and the U.S. at large, skin color is an ever less reliable indicator of identity. According to a 2015 Pew survey, about a quarter of U.S. Hispanics identify themselves as Afro-Latino. Like Edwards, the vast majority (70 percent) are foreign-born.

Afro-Latinos generally are descendants of African slaves brought to Spanish and Portuguese colonies in Latin America and the Caribbean. Most are biracial or multiracial. Being Afro-Latino, says Alain Lawo-Sukam, professor of Hispanic and Africana Studies at Texas A&M University, is less about skin color than about identity and a sense of belonging.

By their very existence, Afro-Latinos challenge the traditional one-drop” view of race in the United States: the idea that one drop of African blood makes a person black. Afro-Latinos like Edwards aren’t simply black, white or Hispanic. They’re a combination – and as such, a vision of the United States’ racially and ethnically complex future. They’re a minority inside a minority; a melting pot within the melting pot…

Read the entire article here.

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Between Two Worlds – A conversation with Rain Pryor

Posted in Articles, Arts, Autobiography, Interviews, Judaism, Media Archive, Religion on 2016-12-04 02:14Z by Steven

Between Two Worlds – A conversation with Rain Pryor

Connecticut Jewish Ledger

Cindy Mindell

Rain Pryor was born and raised in Los Angeles, the daughter of comedian Richard Pryor and Shelley Bonis (later changed to Bonus), a Jewish go-go dancer. After her parents divorced, Pryor spent time with both grandmothers and in both cultures, forging a unique identity that combined elements from her Black and Jewish legacies.

In 2004, Pryor created and toured in “Fried Chicken and Latkes,” an award-winning solo show based on her life that played to sold-out crowds and standing ovations across the country and in the UK. In 2005, the show won an NAACP Theatre Award for Best Female Performer Equity, and the Invisible Theatre’s Goldie Klein Guest Artist Award. The 2012 New York Times review of the “effervescent” show described Pryor as “a robust, ebullient performer.”…

…Recently, she spoke with the Ledger about the evolution of her “Fried Chicken and Latkes” and the influences that shaped it…

Q: How do you express your dual identity today?

A: For High Holidays, my mom and I go to the Pico Union [formerly Sinai Temple], the oldest synagogue building in Los Angeles. They do a lot of outreach. I also embrace my Black African-centric heritage and practice Ifá, an ancient and mystical Yoruba tradition honoring the ancestors, which to me went beautifully with the High Holiday services. I embrace culture and tradition and I would say I’m a spiritual being more than I’ll ever be a religious being…

Read the entire interview here.

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Award-winning author Danzy Senna speaks at The University of Toledo

Posted in Articles, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive on 2016-12-04 01:48Z by Steven

Award-winning author Danzy Senna speaks at The University of Toledo

The Independent Collegian: Serving the University of Toledo Community Since 1919.
Toledo, Ohio

Meg Perry, Staff Reporter

Savannah Joslin / IC

Award-winning author Danzy Senna visited the University of Toledo to read from her memoir Where Did You Sleep Last Night? as well as answer questions, and hold a book signing. The event was held Thursday, Nov. 3 for the 27th annual Richard M. Summers Memorial Lecture presented by the English Department.

Kimberly Mack, assistant professor of English said, “I was blown away by Senna’s skillful and fearless exploration of the complicated topics of racial, class and gender identity. Ms. Senna’s portrayal of biracial sisters, Birdie and Cole Lee, two young girls who struggle to find their places in a society that is uncomfortable with racial gray areas is simultaneously beautiful and devastating.”

Senna is most widely recognized for her novel Caucasia which has been awarded the Stephen Crane Award for Best New Fiction of the Year, American Library Association’s Alex Award, Finalist International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award, as well as several others…

Read the entire article here.

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Artist Explodes Racial Stereotypes In Shape-Shifting Photographs

Posted in Articles, Arts, Interviews, Media Archive, United States on 2016-12-04 01:33Z by Steven

Artist Explodes Racial Stereotypes In Shape-Shifting Photographs

The Huffington Post

Priscilla Frank, Arts & Culture Writer

Shulamit Nazarian

“My experience as a person of color is different than others’. I have something to say.”

Artist Genevieve Gaignard grew up in the town of Orange, Massachusetts. Her mother was white, her father black ― one of the first black men to live in the small town. “I was always really aware that we were different,” Gaignard explained in an interview with The Huffington Post.

While Gaignard was well aware of her biracial identity, most of her classmates and neighborhood acquaintances simply saw her as the pale-skinned, redheaded child she was. They assumed, in other words, like the majority of Orange citizens, that Gaignard was white. “I passed along with everyone else,” she said. “I blended in.”

As a kid, Gaignard spent a lot of time in her room. “I was shy, quiet, in my own little world,” she recalled. She would listen to the radio, make collages and plaster magazine cutouts on her wall. She’d also obsessively look into the lives of celebrities like Mariah Carey and Alicia Keys, women who also were both black and white. She studied how they defined themselves, the spaces they occupied and the ways they existed in the world. “I would think, ‘Oh, they get to be black,’ or, ‘They’re kind of passing as white,’” Gaignard said. “I would search for images of their parents, trying to get clues. It’s interesting how media or the industry often decides where someone will fit in.”

“Basic Cable” Shulamit Nazarian

With no outside force to define her, Gaignard was left, like so many young people, feeling undefined. “It was this not knowing how to identify,” she expressed. “Not feeling black enough, not feeling white enough, that was the struggle.”…

Read the entire article here.

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Would-Be Bridegroom Takes Oath He Is Negro

Posted in Articles, Law, Media Archive, Passing, United States on 2016-12-03 23:55Z by Steven

Would-Be Bridegroom Takes Oath He Is Negro

The San Francisco Call
Volume 104, Number 70 (1908-08-09)
Page 31, Column 4
(Source: California Digital Newspaper Collection)

Cannot Get License to Wed Mulatto Until He Proves His Race

ST. LOUIS, Aug. 8.— “You can’t get a marriage license here,” said Leon G. Smith of East St. Louis yesterday when William Hawkins and a mulatto woman named Fanny F. Austin of East St. Louis came into the marriage license clerk’s office and asked for a license.

Hawkins inquired what the reason was for refusing him a license, and was told that licenses would not be issued for mixed marriages, whites and negroes. Then he laughed and told Smith that while he generally passed for a white man and very few people ever imagined he had negro blood, that he really was a negro. To prove this Hawkins opened his shirt collar and showed that below his throat he was somewhat darker than his face appeared. He also showed his finger nails to prove his negro blood, and finally made an affidavit that he was a negro. Then the license was issued. Hawkins told Smith that he has three sisters married to white men who do not suspect their wives of having negro blood.

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Trevor Noah on Growing Up in South Africa Under Apartheid

Posted in Africa, Articles, Autobiography, Media Archive, South Africa on 2016-12-03 23:22Z by Steven

Trevor Noah on Growing Up in South Africa Under Apartheid

Literary Hub

Trevor Noah

“Where most children are proof of their parents’ love, I was the proof of their criminality.”

When the doctors pulled me out there was an awkward moment where they said, “Huh. That’s a very light-skinned baby.” A quick scan of the delivery room revealed no man standing around to take credit.

“Who is the father?” they asked.

“His father is from Swaziland,” my mother said, referring to the tiny, landlocked kingdom in the west of South Africa.

They probably knew she was lying, but they accepted it because they needed an explanation. Under apartheid, the government labeled everything on your birth certificate: race, tribe, nationality. Everything had to be categorized. My mother lied and said I was born in KaNgwane, the semi-sovereign homeland for Swazi people living in South Africa. So my birth certificate doesn’t say that I’m Xhosa, which technically I am. And it doesn’t say that I’m Swiss, which the government wouldn’t allow. It just says that I’m from another country.

My father isn’t on my birth certificate. Officially, he’s never been my father. And my mother, true to her word, was prepared for him not to be involved. She ’d rented a new flat for herself in Joubert Park, the neighborhood adjacent to Hillbrow, and that’s where she took me when she left the hospital. The next week she went to visit him, with no baby. To her surprise, he asked where I was. “You said that you didn’t want to be involved,” she said. And he hadn’t, but once I existed he realized he couldn’t have a son living around the corner and not be a part of my life. So the three of us formed a kind of family, as much as our peculiar situation would allow. I lived with my mom. We ’d sneak around and visit my dad when we could.

Where most children are proof of their parents’ love, I was the proof of their criminality. The only time I could be with my father was indoors. If we left the house, he ’d have to walk across the street from us. My mom and I used to go to Joubert Park all the time. It’s the Central Park of Johannesburg—beautiful gardens, a zoo, a giant chessboard with human-sized pieces that people would play. My mother tells me that once, when I was a toddler, my dad tried to go with us. We were in the park, he was walking a good bit away from us, and I ran after him, screaming, “Daddy! Daddy! Daddy!” People started looking. He panicked and ran away. I thought it was a game and kept chasing him…

Read the entire excerpt from Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood here.

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The Color of American Genomics: Genetics in the Era of Racialized Medicine

Posted in Forthcoming Media, Health/Medicine/Genetics, Live Events, Politics/Public Policy, United States on 2016-12-03 23:04Z by Steven

The Color of American Genomics: Genetics in the Era of Racialized Medicine

University of California, Los Angeles
306 Royce Hall
340 Royce Drive
Los Angeles, California 90095
Friday, 2016-12-09, 13:30-16:30 PST (Local Time)


Michael Montoya, Associate Professor
University of California, Irvine

Sandra Soo Jin Lee, Senior Research Scholar
Stanford University

Joan Donovan
University of California, Los Angeles

Élodie Grossi
University of California, Los Angeles/EPIDAPO

Since the 1960s, American ethno-racial categories have been increasingly used to respond to the inclusion of ethnic and racial minorities in biomedicine and genetics. It has been the researchers’ very dedication to the positive ideals of diversity and to the struggle against medical disparities that has paradoxically allowed racial categories to massively gain ground in science. This half-day symposium aims to shed light on the scope of racialized science and the political and ethical considerations raised by this new paradigm.

This workshop is free and open to the public

Presented by EPIDAPO.  Co-sponsored by the UCLA Institute for Society and Genetics.

For more information, click here.

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In Full Color: Finding My Place in a Black and White World

Posted in Autobiography, Books, Forthcoming Media, Monographs, Passing, United States on 2016-12-03 23:00Z by Steven

In Full Color: Finding My Place in a Black and White World

BenBella Books
256 pages
Hardcover ISBN: 978-1944648169

Rachel Doležal (with Storms Reback)

A lot of people think they know what Rachel Doležal is.

Race faker. Liar. Opportunist. Crazy bitch.

But they don’t get to decide who Rachel Doležal is.

What determines your race? Is it your DNA? The community in which you were raised? The way others see you, or the way you see yourself?

On June 11, 2015, the media “outed” Rachel Doležal as a white woman who had knowingly been “passing” as black. When asked if she were African American during an interview about the hate crimes directed at her and her family, she hesitated before ending the interview and walking away. Some interpreted her reluctance to respond and hasty departure as dishonesty, while others assumed she lacked a reasonable explanation for the almost unprecedented way she identified herself.

With In Full Color, Rachael Doležal describes the path that led her from being a child of white evangelical parents to an NAACP chapter president and respected educator and activist who identified as black. Along the way, she’ll discuss the deep emotional bond she formed with her four adopted black siblings, the sense of belonging she felt while living in black communities in Jackson, Mississippi and Washington, D.C., and the discrimination she’s suffered while living as a black woman.

Her story is nuanced and complex, and in the process of telling it, she forces us to consider race in an entirely new light—not as a biological imperative, but as a function of the experiences we have, the culture we embrace, and, ultimately, the identity we choose.

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Black Autonomy: Race, Gender, and Afro-Nicaraguan Activism

Posted in Anthropology, Books, Caribbean/Latin America, Forthcoming Media, Monographs, Social Science on 2016-12-03 22:58Z by Steven

Black Autonomy: Race, Gender, and Afro-Nicaraguan Activism

Stanford University Press
248 pages
Cloth ISBN: 9780804799560
Paper ISBN: 9781503600546

Jennifer Goett, Associate Professor of Comparative Cultures and Politics
James Madison College, Michigan State University

Decades after the first multicultural reforms were introduced in Latin America, Afrodescendant people from the region are still disproportionately impoverished, underserved, policed, and incarcerated. In Nicaragua, Afrodescendants have mobilized to confront this state of siege through the politics of black autonomy. For women and men grappling with postwar violence, black autonomy has its own cultural meanings as a political aspiration and a way of crafting selfhood and solidarity.

Jennifer Goett’s ethnography examines the race and gender politics of activism for autonomous rights in an Afrodescedant Creole community in Nicaragua. Weaving together fifteen years of research, Black Autonomy follows this community-based movement from its inception in the late 1990s to its realization as an autonomous territory in 2009 and beyond. Goett argues that despite significant gains in multicultural recognition, Afro-Nicaraguan Creoles continue to grapple with the day-to-day violence of capitalist intensification, racialized policing, and drug war militarization in their territories. Activists have responded by adopting a politics of autonomy based on race pride, territoriality, self-determination, and self-defense. Black Autonomy shows how this political radicalism is rooted in African diasporic identification and gendered cultural practices that women and men use to assert control over their bodies, labor, and spaces in an atmosphere of violence.

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Seminar: Ideals of Miscegenation: Ethnicity, Sexuality, and the Chinese Ideology of “Region”

Posted in Anthropology, Asian Diaspora, Forthcoming Media, Live Events, Religion on 2016-12-03 22:56Z by Steven

Seminar: Ideals of Miscegenation: Ethnicity, Sexuality, and the Chinese Ideology of “Region”

University of Sydney
Old Teachers College
Room 310
Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
2016-12-05, 14:00-15:30 AEDT (Local Time)

Ha Guangtian, Postdoctoral Research Fellow
SOAS China Institute, London, United Kingdom

While the word “miscegenation” normally carries a strongly negative connotation in the history of Western racial politics, in this talk, I use the word to describe an emergent political ideology in China that taps into the underlying assumption of one of the most essential state institutions in the governance of China’s ethnic minorities, namely, ethnic regional autonomy. Two aspects of this assumption will be the focus of my talk: its alleged facilitation of inter-ethnic and cross-cultural economic exchange and commercial flow on the one hand, and its often unspoken yet ever present intention in “consummating” this political economic arrangement with a correlated sexual arrangement, typified by inter-ethnic marriage, on the other. Rather than speaking merely at the general level, however, I choose to examine the ramifications and metamorphosis of this ideology among the elite Hui Muslim intellectuals, a group that include both university professors, think-tank researchers, and government officials. The Hui elites have been among the most enthusiastic proponents of this ideology, due particularly to their understanding of who the Hui are and how they came into being as an ethnic group. This historical presumption receives a new meaning under the “One Belt One Road” initiate. The presumptively “miscegenous” ethno-origin of the Hui is seen to offer them a critical edge in fostering a cross-cultural and cross-ethno-national perspective. This perspective, moreover, fits into a general ideology centred on a certain conception of “region” that is being formulated across different academic disciplines and political discourses in contemporary China. In many respects, this not only raises new issues of political re-alignment – or predictions of a new “great game” – in Eurasia, but also poses new challenges for theoretical critique. For the old criticism of racial, cultural, or ethnic essentialism, dear to leftist intellectuals in the 1980s and 1990s, is barely sufficient to address this new change – if anything, it plays right into its hands. By taking the Hui as an example, this talk tries to respond to this challenge at the level both of theory and of politics.

For more information, click here.

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