Thinking In Colour

Posted in Audio, Biography, Media Archive, Passing, Social Science, United States on 2021-05-25 14:23Z by Steven

Thinking In Colour

BBC Radio 4
British Broadcasting Corporation

Gary Younge, Professor of Sociology
Manchester University, Manchester, United Kingdom

Caitlin Smith, Producer
Tony Phillips, Executive Producer

Bliss Broyard and her father Anatole Broyard (photo: Sandy Broyard)

Passing is a term that originally referred to light skinned African Americans who decided to live their lives as white people. The civil rights activist Walter White claimed in 1947 that every year in America, 12-thousand black people disappeared this way. He knew from first-hand experience. The black president of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People had blonde hair and blue eyes which meant he was able to investigate lynching in the Deep South, while passing in plain sight.

In a strictly segregated society, life on the other side of the colour line could be easier. But it came at a price.

Here, Gary Younge, Professor of Sociology at Manchester University, explores stories of racial passing through the prism of one of his favourite books, Passing, by Nella Larsen.

The 1929 novella brought the concept into the mainstream. It tells the story of two friends; both African-American though one ‘passes’ for white. It’s one of Gary Younge’s, favourite books, for all that it reveals about race, class and privilege.

Gary speaks with Bliss Broyard, who was raised in Connecticut in the blue-blood, mono-racial world of suburbs and private schools. Her racial identity was ensconced in the comfort of insular whiteness. Then in early adulthood Bliss’ world was turned upside down. On her father’s deathbed she learned he was in fact a black man who had been passing as white for most of his life. How did this impact Bliss’ identity and sense of self?

Gary hears three extraordinary personal accounts, each a journey towards understanding racial identity, and belonging. With Bliss Broyard, Anthony Ekundayo Lennon, Georgina Lawton and Professor Jennifer DeVere Brody.

Excerpts from ‘Passing’ read by Robin Miles, the Broadway actress who has narrated books written by Kamala Harris and Roxane Gay.

Listen to the story (00:28:00) here.

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Whites can be black if they wish, says lecturers’ union

Posted in Articles, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, Passing, United States on 2019-11-22 21:00Z by Steven

Whites can be black if they wish, says lecturers’ union

The Telegraph

Mike Wright, Social Media Correspondent

Anthony Lennon 
Anthony Lennon, a white theatre director who describes himself as an ‘African born again’ Credit: Twitter

People should be allowed to identify as black no matter what colour they are born, a lecturers’ union has said.

The University and College Union (UCU), which represents more than 100,000 university lecturers and staff, set out its position on whether people should be able to self-identify as different races or genders.

In the paper “UCU Position on Trans Inclusion”, it stated: “The UCU has a long history of enabling members to self-identify, whether that is being black, disabled, LGBT or women.”…

…The debate over racial self-identification has become heated in recent years. Last November, Anthony Lennon, a white theatre director who describes himself as an “African born again”, drew criticism for securing public funding intended to help ethnic minorities develop their stage careers.

Mr Lennon, 53, who was born in London and whose parents are Irish, won a place on a two-year Arts Council-funded scheme, after a leading black theatre company accepted his claim to be of “mixed heritage”

Read the entire article here.

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Anthony Ekundayo Lennon on being accused of ‘passing’ as a black man: ‘It felt like an assassination’

Posted in Articles, Arts, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, Passing, United Kingdom on 2019-09-09 00:36Z by Steven

Anthony Ekundayo Lennon on being accused of ‘passing’ as a black man: ‘It felt like an assassination’

The Guardian

Simon Hattenstone

Head shot of actor and director Anthony Ekundayo Lennon against turquoise background
Anthony Ekundayo Lennon: ‘I didn’t think I had anything to answer.’ Photograph: David Vintiner/The Guardian

All his life, people have assumed the theatre director is mixed race – and he was happy to embrace that identity. Then he was accused of faking it

Anthony Ekundayo Lennon remembers the moment his life spun out of control. It was late morning, Friday 2 November 2018. The actor and director was giving a talk about the performing arts to university students, and his phone kept flashing. It was so incessant that the students suggested he’d better take a look. He told them it wouldn’t be anything important, turned the phone over and got on with his lecture. When the class broke for lunch, he saw missed calls from Talawa theatre company, where he had been working for the past year, as well as several unknown numbers and messages.

One text stood out. It was from a journalist at the Sunday Times, asking for a comment on a story the paper was preparing to run about Lennon’s place on a prestigious scheme – the artistic director leadership programme (ADLP) for black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) theatre practitioners. Lennon had been awarded an 18-month residency with Talawa, Britain’s best-known black-led theatre company. He scrolled down the text…

Read the entire article here.

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Why do so many others want to claim Blackness if it means oppression?

Posted in Articles, Passing, Social Justice, United Kingdom, United States on 2019-01-19 03:57Z by Steven

Why do so many others want to claim Blackness if it means oppression?

The Black Youth Project

Inigo Laguda

Anthony Lennon via Facebook | Rachel Dolezal via Wikimedia Commons

It is the most enthralling and excruciating time to be Black. Recently, it seems, some have managed access to glide through avenues that were previously concealed from us—to break down walls that were once erected to ostracize us. We are in the belly of a Black artistic renaissance and some of these shifting tides are joyous to watch. We are flooding onto magazine covers. The silver screen has a vivid range of our stories being told. The littler screen is forming and fleshing out more of our narratives than ever before. Slowly, we are being more and more seen.

But just as the draping trees and tranquil swamp-waters of the southern Bayou once served as an eerily mesmerizing backdrop for the unrelenting violence that enslaved peoples faced as they toiled tirelessly nearby—the painful reality of being Black is one of a dual existence. Victory is juxtaposed with defeat, and joy is never further than a stones throw from pain…

Read the entire article here.

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