Racism, White Supremacy and Biracial/Multiraciality (2011)

Posted in Articles, Asian Diaspora, Audio, Media Archive, Social Justice, Social Science, United States on 2013-07-14 17:05Z by Steven

Racism, White Supremacy and Biracial/Multiraciality (2011)

Tim Wise, Antiracist Essayist, Author and Educator
September 2011

Tim Wise

From my September 2011 talk at Spalding University in Louisville, KY. In this snippet, I respond to a question about how we should understand or think about biracial and multiracial folks’ experiences in a system of racism/white supremacy.

[Transcribed by Steven F. Riley]

I think it would be wise for people who are biracial and multiracial to never forget that this is a system of formal historical and institutional white supremacy. And I’m afraid sometimes, there are a lot incentives that the culture puts out there to biracial and multiracial people to forget that. Right. Because they’re not quite as Black or they’re not quite as Brown. And so there is a tendency for people to think that they really escape that system. Right. That they’re not really in that system. And look, and I think that every person ought to be able to claim whatever parts of and all parts of their identity. So if… look, if you’re Tiger Woods and you want to call yourself “Cablinasian,” which is what he did back in the early part of his career. He called himself Cablinasian because he wanted to honor Caucasian part, the Asian part, the Black part, the Native American part. Okay, here’s the deal… He was Cablinasian. He instited on that. He was not Black!

Okay. And then… when Tiger Woods did what Tiger Woods did… repeatedly, apparently, I went on the chat boards—sports chat boards, not political chat boards–sports chat boards. [Be]cause you can tell a lot about the culture based on the annonymous comments that folks post on sports boards. Forget politics, just read any post after a NBA game, after a NFL game, hell, read the comments after a storm goes through your community. Any story at all, folks will bring up race… with an “Anonymous,” just “Anonymous.” They never put their name and they have no avatar, it’s just that shadow-head and “Anonymous” and they put some nonsense. And so, I went on the chatboard after this Tiger Woods thing broke. And it was funny, everyone who had stuff to say about him, none of them said, “You know, this is just what Cablinasian men do.” [laughter] “What do you expect from a Cablinasian.” [laughter].

That’s not what they said, he was Black… as midnight, as soon as he did something that reminded the dominate group of the stereotype they had come to believe. So, multiracial, biracial folks: claim all of, claim every piece of it. Do not forget where one still sits on the trajectory of white supremacy. Because when once you forget that, there is real danger, real danger.

Listen to the clip here (00:02:14). Download the clip here (395 KB).

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Troubling the Family: The Promise of Personhood and the Rise of Multiracialism

Posted in Barack Obama, Books, Media Archive, Monographs, Passing, Politics/Public Policy, Social Science, United States on 2013-03-21 15:00Z by Steven

Troubling the Family: The Promise of Personhood and the Rise of Multiracialism

University of Minnesota Press
October 2012
256 pages
5 1/2 x 8 1/2
Paper ISBN: 978-0-8166-7918-8
Cloth ISBN: 978-0-8166-7917-1

Habiba Ibrahim, Associate Professor of English
University of Washington

Troubling the Family argues that the emergence of multiracialism during the 1990s was determined by underlying and unacknowledged gender norms. Opening with a germinal moment for multiracialism—the seemingly massive and instantaneous popular appearance of Tiger Woods in 1997—Habiba Ibrahim examines how the shifting status of racial hero for both black and multiracial communities makes sense only by means of an account of masculinity.

Ibrahim looks across historical events and memoirs (beginning with the Loving v. Virginia case in 1967 when miscegenation laws were struck down) to reveal that gender was the starting point of an analytics that made categorical multiracialism, and multiracial politics, possible. Producing a genealogy of multiracialism’s gendered basis allows Ibrahim to focus on a range of stakeholders whose interests often ran against the grain of what the multiracial movement of the 1990s often privileged—the sanctity of the heteronormative family, the labor of child rearing, and more precise forms of racial tabulation—all of which, when taken together, could form the basis for creating so-called neutral personhood.

Ibrahim concludes with a consideration of Barack Obama as a representation of the resurrection of the assurance that multiracialism extended into the 2000s: a version of personhood with no memory of its own gendered legacy, and with no self-account of how it became so masculine that it can at once fill the position of political leader and the promise of the end of politics.


  • Introduction: The Rising Son of Multiracialism
  • 1. Multiracial Timelines: A Genealogy of Personhood
  • 2. Legitimizing the Deviant Family: Loving vs. Virginia and the Moynihan Report
  • 3. The Whiteness of Maternal Memoirs: Politicizing the Multiracial Child
  • 4. Ambivalent Outcomes: Blackness and the Return of Racial Passing
  • Conclusion: Dreams of the Father and Potentials Lost
  • Acknowledgments
  • Notes
  • Index
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Left of Black S3:E9 | Racial Passing and the Rise of Multiracialism

Posted in Census/Demographics, Media Archive, Passing, Social Science, United States, Videos on 2012-11-14 14:50Z by Steven

Left of Black S3:E9 | Racial Passing and the Rise of Multiracialism

Left of Black
John Hope Franklin Center
Duke University

Mark Anthony Neal, Host and Professor of African & African American Studies
Duke University

Marcia Alesan Dawkins, Clinical Assistant Professor of Communications
University of Southern California, Annenberg

Habiba Ibrahim, Associate Professor of English
University of Washington

Left of Black is a weekly Webcast hosted by Mark Anthony Neal and produced in collaboration with the John Hope Franklin Center at Duke University.

For many African Americans, the practice of ‘Passing’—where light-skinned Blacks could pass for White—remains a thing connected to a difficult racial past. In her new book, Clearly Invisible: Racial Passing and the Color of Cultural Identity (Baylor University Press), Marcia Dawkins, a professor in the Annenberg School of Communications at the University of Southern California provides a fresh take on the practice arguing that passing in the contemporary moment transcends racial performance.

Dawkins talks about her new book with Left of Black host and Duke University Professor Mark Anthony Neal, via Skype.  Neal is also joined by University of Washington Professor Habiba Ibrahim for part one of a two-part interview about her new book Troubling the Family: The Promise of Personhood and the Rise of Multiracialism (University of Minnesota Press) in which she links the rise of Multiracialism in the 1990s to the maintenance of traditional gender norms.

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The Case for Cablinasian: Multiracial Naming From Plessy to Tiger Woods

Posted in Articles, Communications/Media Studies, Identity Development/Psychology, Law, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, United States on 2012-04-02 02:58Z by Steven

The Case for Cablinasian: Multiracial Naming From Plessy to Tiger Woods

Communication Theory
Volume 22, Issue 1 (February 2012)
pages 92–111
DOI: 10.1111/j.1468-2885.2011.01399.x

LeiLani Nishime, Assistant Professor of Communication
University of Washington, Seattle

This article advocates for the interdisciplinary use of critical race theory and critical rhetorical theory in communication to analyze racialized language and to evaluate the cultural and political significance of new racial discourses in the United States. The article examines the dissenting opinion in Plessy v Ferguson (1896) and the congressional hearings on the Tiger Woods Bill (1997), two key instances of public debate over multiracial categories. The article then turns to Tiger Woods’ term “Cablinasian” and the possibilities of an alternative and contestory multiracial nomenclature, shifting the critique away from Woods’ celebrity or politics and toward the legal history and rhetorical potential of the word itself.

In 1996, Oprah Winfrey, on her U.S. television show, asked Tiger Woods how he racially identified. He famously responded by saying he made up his own word, “Cablinasian,” combining the words Caucasian, Black, Indian, and Asian. His comments stirred so much passionate response Winfrey scheduled another show dedicated to the issue. At the center of the debate was the perception that Woods was advocating for his own racial exceptionalism, an exceptionalism that endeared him to many in the multiracial movement and alienated him from many African American activists (DaCosta, 2007; Spencer, 2003; Squires, 2007; Weisman, 2001; Williams, 2006; Wu, 2002). He was roundly criticized in the popular press for buying into the historical social elevation of multiracial African Americans and rejecting a communal African American identity (Black America and Tiger’s Dilemma, 1997; Nordlinger, 2002).

His supporters, such as conservative republican Thomas Petri, sponsor of the so-called Tiger Woods Bill (1997), did not help Woods’ reputation with civil rights groups. The bill called for the inclusion of a “multiracial” category on the census and was opposed by organizations such as the NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People) and National Asian Pacific American Legal Consortium. They argued that the new category would undercount legally recognized racial groups resulting in less political power and fewer resources for those groups. The debate, now aligned along a left-right axis, deepened the divide between a conservative, colorblind, embrace of the term Cablinasian and a race-conscious, civil rights-based, rejection of Woods.

Academic treatments of Woods have also been highly critical of his use of the term Cablinasian. Whether primarily grounding their arguments in the public policy implication of the term (Hernandez, 2003; Spencer, 2003; Wu, 2002) or in media representations of both Woods and the controversy (Billings, 2003; Cashmore, 2008; Dagbovie, 2007; Houck, 2006; Palumbo-Liu, 1999; Yu, 2003), they argue that the term ultimately concedes to a colorblind worldview. The media critics point out Woods’ own apolitical indifference to social issues and document the ways in which his celebrity persona affirms the liberal individualist ideology of a U.S. society “beyond race.”

Rather than reiterate arguments about the way Woods represents and reflects prevailing views of race, a topic that has been covered so convincingly and so well by the scholars cited above, I propose an alternative framing of the issue. Conceived as a complement to rather than a replacement of more traditional communication approaches to the Tiger Woods phenomenon, this analysis will center on the term Cablinasian. It argues for the possibilities of an alternative and contestatory language of multiracial nomenclature, shifting the critique away from Woods’ celebrity or politics and toward the legal history and rhetorical potential of the word itself.

Contextualizing the term within a longer history and broader social context makes clear the relationship between colorblind rhetoric, multiracial naming, and the race-based inequalities often hidden by both. Through a comparative reading of two attempts to legally define racial categories, the dissenting opinion of Plessy v. Ferguson (1896) and the congressional hearings on the failed Tiger Woods Bill (1997), I trace the rarely acknowledged exploitation of Asians in constructions of both multiraciality and colorblindness in the United States. The deliberate choice of two unsuccessful bids to alter racial language highlights challenges the bills posed to prevailing racial norms. Neither became law, but in their moment of rupture with a “common sense” racial order, they enable us to perceive race as an order.

This article, therefore, is a case study of the term Cablinasian linking together early and more current narratives of multiraciality and makes a case for Cablinasian as a method of critique. For the purpose of this article, the term functions as an exemplary approach to multiracial naming rather than an idiosyncratic solution. Its significance is not as a singular and specific word but in the possibilities it presents for reconceiving the way we name racial allegiances and understand racial identities. When used as a critical tool, Cablinasian presents a challenge to racial categories by making visible multiple racial allegiances rather than reverting to a celebration of colorblindness…

Read or purchase the article here.

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The Tiger Woods phenomenon: a note on biracial identity

Posted in Articles, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, Social Science, Social Work, United States on 2011-12-04 22:29Z by Steven

The Tiger Woods phenomenon: a note on biracial identity

The Social Science Journal
Volume 38, Issue 2, Summer 2001
Pages 333-336
DOI: 10.1016/S0362-3319(01)00118-5

Ronald E. Hall, Professor of Social Work
Michigan State University

Traditional race based models exclude the unique developmental dynamics of biracial Americans such as “Tiger” Woods. Conversely, a substantial portion of the scholarly literature emphasizes social experience rather than physiological attributes as the keystone to individual identity development. In the aftermath biracial Americans are conflicted. In an effort to ensure their psychic health social scientist scholars and practitioners must inculcate a human development across the life span model to accommodate the nation’s increasing level of racial and cultural miscegenation.

Read or purchase the article here.

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The Passion of Tiger Woods: An Anthropologist Reports on Golf, Race, and Celebrity Scandal

Posted in Anthropology, Books, Media Archive, Monographs, United States on 2011-11-30 06:05Z by Steven

The Passion of Tiger Woods: An Anthropologist Reports on Golf, Race, and Celebrity Scandal

Duke University Press
November 2011
160 pages
20 illustrations
Paperback ISBN: 978-0-8223-5210-5
Cloth ISBN: 978-0-8223-5199-3

Orin Starn, Professor of Cultural Anthropology
Duke University

Perhaps the best golfer ever, Tiger Woods rocketed to the top of a once whites-only sport. Endorsements made him a global brand and the world’s richest athlete. The child of a multiracial marriage, Woods and his blond, blue-eyed wife, Elin Nordegren, seemed to represent a new postracial America. Then, in late 2009, Woods became embroiled in a sex scandal that made headlines worldwide. In this concise yet far-reaching analysis, Orin Starn brings an anthropologist’s perspective to bear on Tigergate. He explores our modern media obsession with celebrity scandals and their tawdry ritualized drama, yet he offers much more than the usual banal moralizing about the rich and famous. Starn explains how Tiger’s travails and the culture of golf reflect broader American anxieties—about race and sex, scapegoating and betrayal, and the role of the sports hero. The Passion of Tiger Woods is required reading for all those interested in the high-stakes world of professional golf, the politics of sports and celebrity, and the myths and realities surrounding the flawed yet riveting figure who remains among the most famous athletes of our time.

Table of Contents

  • Prologue
  • 1. Golf Backward Spells “Flog”
  • 2. The Tiger Woods Revolution
  • 3. Tigergate, Celebrity Scandal, and the Apology Society
  • 4. Internet Wars, Sex Addiction, and the Crucifixion of Tiger Woods
  • 5. Postracial Fantasies, Racial Realpolitik
  • 6. Tiger’s Penis
  • 7. Out of the Woods?
  • Notes
  • Bibliography
  • Acknowledgments
  • Index

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Darkening Tiger Woods: How post-scandal Tiger Woods lost his whiteness and became Blasian

Posted in Asian Diaspora, Live Events, Media Archive, Social Work, United States on 2011-04-22 03:32Z by Steven

Darkening Tiger Woods: How post-scandal Tiger Woods lost his whiteness and became Blasian

Asian American Cultural Center Lounge
1210 W. Nevada Street
Urbana, Illinois
2011-04-25, 14:00 CDT (Local Time)

Myra Washington, Assistant Professor of Communication & Journalism
University of New Mexico

The rhetoric around Tiger Woods, after his extramarital affairs became public, demonstrates the complexities in which Blackness and Asianness were deployed to shame, emasculate, understand, praise, pity, and mock him. Via text, Woods himself shifts his identity from Cablinasian (on Oprah) to Blasian, which media organizations used in part used to frame his behavior. His self-identification brought Blasians under scrutiny, which resulted in moves to protect the Blasian brand. Myra Washington is a PhD candidate in the Institute of Communications Research. Her dissertation explores Black/Asian (Blasian) multiracial identity and its representations through analyzing mediated constructions of Blasian celebrities specifically Kimora Lee Simmons, Hines Ward, and post-cheating scandal Tiger Woods. Using the increase in recognition of multiracial celebrities who identify as Black and Asian and the popularity of these celebrities specifically, Washington’s project interrogates if and how their visibility and success allows for other similarly mixed up [?? actual wording in announcement] mixed-race people to claim visibility for themselves. Washington received the 2010 Jeffrey S. Tanaka Asian American Studies Grant for graduate students.

For more information, click here.

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The Limits of the Choice of Identity

Posted in Excerpts/Quotes on 2011-04-09 01:43Z by Steven

“A tree, whatever the circumstances, does not become a legume, a vine, or a cow,” explains Kwame Anthony Appiah in The Ethics Of Identity. “The reasonable middle view is that constructing an identity is a good thing (if self-authorship is a good thing) but that the identity must make some kind of sense. And for it to make sense, it must be an identity constructed in response to facts outside oneself, things that are beyond one’s own choices.”

A society in which “Cablinasian” makes sense has yet to be created. Like a Rwanda full of Hutsis [Hutu/Tutsi], it exists only in the imagination. That does not necessarily mean that such a society could not or should not emerge. But “the facts beyond one’s own choice” do not yet allow it. Identities may be constructed and can be built differently. But we can only work with the materials available.

Gary Younge, “Tiger Woods: Black, white, other,” The Guardian. May 29, 2010.

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Segregated Miscegenation: On the Treatment of Racial Hybridity in the North American and Latin American Literary Traditions

Posted in Books, Canada, Caribbean/Latin America, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, Monographs, Slavery, United States on 2011-03-27 18:15Z by Steven

Segregated Miscegenation: On the Treatment of Racial Hybridity in the North American and Latin American Literary Traditions

Pages: 144
Trim Size: 6 x 9
Hardback ISBN: 978-0-415-94349-9

Carlos Hiraldo, Professor of English
LaGuardia Community College, City University of New York

Through the comparative study of literatures from the United States and Latin America, Segregated Miscegenation questions received notions of race and nation. Carlos Hiraldo examines the current understanding of race in the United States alongside alternative models of racial self-definition in Latin America. His provocative analysis traces the conceptualization of blackness in fiction and theories of the novel, and troubles the racial and ethnic categories particular to each region’s literary tradition.

Table of Contents

  • Acknowledgments
  • Introduction: Coloring Latinos, Coloring the United States
    • The Novel as Popular Culture
    • Race in Latin America
    • Latinos as a U.S. Race
    • The Novel in the Dissemination and Reconfiguration of Notions about Race
  • Chapter One: Novel Concepts: The Role of the Novel in Developing Ideas of Nation and Race in the Americas
    • Mikhail Bakhtin, Georg Lukacs, and the “New World” of the Novel
    • Benedict Anderson and the Novel as a Tool of National Imagination
    • Fredric Jameson and the Many Worlds in the Americas
    • Novels and the Fictionalization of Racial Attitudes
  • Chapter Two: Enslaved Characters: Nineteenth-Century Abolitionist Novels and the Absence of Bi-racial Consciousness
    • Differences between Bi-racial and Mulatto Characters
    • The Myth of Racial Purity versus the Dreams of a Miscegenated Paradise
    • The Limitations of Nineteenth-Century Racial Representations
    • Uncle Tom’s Cabin and Bi-racial Characters in Nineteenth-Century U.S. and Latin American Literatures
    • Sab as a Nineteenth-Century Cuban Romantic Tale about Race
    • The Complicit Ignorance of Cecilia Valdes
    • A Thin Line between Black and White in Martin Morua Delgado’s Sofia and Mark Twain’s Pudd’nhead Wilson
    • Race without Romance in Antonio Zambrana’s El negro Francisco
  • Chapter Three: Mulatto Fictions: Representations of Identity-Consciousness in U.S. and Latin American Bi-racial Characters
    • Mulatto Characters as Racial and Cultural Nexus
    • Passing the Tragic Mulatta in Twentieth-Century U.S. Literature
    • Gabriela and the Sexualized Mulatia in Twentieth-Century Latin American Literature
    • Pobre negro, The Violent Land, and the Limits of Mulatto Characters in Twentieth-Century Latin American Literature
    • Joe Christmas and the Unmerry Existence of Mulatto Characters in Twentieth-Century U.S. Literature
    • Go Down, Moses and the Mumbled Recognition of Racial Confluence in the United States
    • The Bluest Eye and the Persistence of Anti-mulatto Fiction in the United States
  • Chapter Four: Identity Against the Grain: Latino Authors of African European
    • Heritage and Their Encounters with the Racial Ideology of the United States
    • Latino Authors and the “One Drop” Rule
    • Piri Thomas, Julia Alvarez, and the Limitations of Choosing Sides in the U.S. Racial Divide
    • Esmeralda Santiago and Negi’s Persistent Puertoricanness in the Face of the “One Drop” Rule
  • Chapter Five: Choosing Your Own Face: Future Trends of Racial
    • Discourses in the United States
    • Latino Influence in Other Cultural Products
    • The Latin American Racial Paradigm behind the “Wigga”
    • The Rock, Tiger Woods, and a Universal Race
  • Notes
  • Bibliography
  • Index
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Race: I’m Just Who I am

Posted in Articles, Census/Demographics, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, Social Science, United States on 2011-01-12 19:17Z by Steven

Race: I’m Just Who I am

Time Magazine

Jack E. White, Washington

Tamala M. Edwards, Washington

Elaine Lafferty, Los Angeles

Sylvester Monoroe, Los Angeles

Victoria Rainert, New York

His nickname notwithstanding, professional golfer Frank (“Fuzzy”) Zoeller saw Tiger Woods quite clearly. He gazed upon the new king of professional golf, through whose veins runs the blood of four continents, and beheld neither a one-man melting pot nor even a golfing prodigy but a fried-chicken-and-collard- greens-eating Sambo. Zoeller saw Woods, in short, as just another stereotype, condemned by his blackness to the perpetual status of “little boy.”

Zoeller soon paid a price for saying openly what many others were thinking secretly. K Mart, the discount chain with a big African-American clientele, unceremoniously dumped him as the sponsor of a line of golf clothing and equipment, and he abjectly withdrew from the Greater Greensboro Open tournament. “People who know me know I’m a jokester. I just didn’t deliver the line well,” Zoeller tearfully explained. But his real crime was not, as he and his defenders seem to think, merely a distasteful breach of racial etiquette or an inept attempt at humor. The real crime was falling behind the times. The old black-white stereotypes are out of date, and Zoeller is just the latest casualty of America’s failure to come to grips with the perplexing and rapidly evolving significance of racial identity in what is fast becoming the most polyglot society in history.

If current demographic trends persist, midway through the 21st century whites will no longer make up a majority of the U.S. population. Blacks will have been overtaken as the largest minority group by Hispanics. Asians and Pacific Islanders will more than double their number of 9.3 million in 1995 to 19.6 million by 2020. An explosion of interracial, interethnic and interreligious marriages will swell the ranks of children whose mere existence makes a mockery of age-old racial categories and attitudes. Since 1970, the number of multiracial children has quadrupled to more than 2 million, according to the Bureau of the Census. The color line once drawn between blacks and whites—or more precisely between whites and nonwhites—is breaking into a polygon of dueling ethnicities, each fighting for its place in the sun.

For many citizens the “browning of America” means a disorienting plunge into an uncharted sea of identity. Zoeller is far from alone in being confused about the complex tangle of genotypes and phenotypes and cultures that now undercut centuries-old verities about race and race relations in the U.S. Like many others, he hasn’t got a clue about what to call the growing ranks of people like Woods who inconveniently refuse to be pigeonholed into one of the neat, oversimplified racial classifications used by government agencies–and, let’s face it, most people. Are they people of color? Mixed race? Biracial? Whatever they like?…

Read the entire article here.

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