Passing and the Problematic of Multiracial Pride (or, Why One Mixed Girl Still Answers to Black)

Posted in Autobiography, Books, Chapter, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, Passing, Social Science, United States, Women on 2013-03-13 18:16Z by Steven

Passing and the Problematic of Multiracial Pride (or, Why One Mixed Girl Still Answers to Black)

by Danzy Senna

Chapter in: Black Cultural Traffic: Crossroads in Global Performance and Popular Culture
University of Michigan Press
416 pages
Cloth ISBN: 978-0-472-09840-8
Paper ISBN: 978-0-472-06840-1
Ebook ISBN: 978-0-472-02545-9

Edited By:

Harry J. Elam, Jr., Olive H. Palmer Professor in Humanities and Professor of Drama
Stanford University

Kennell Jackson (1941-2005), Associate Professor of History
Stanford University

I have never had the comfort zone of a given racial identity. My mother is a Bostonian white woman of WASP heritage. My father is a Louisiana black man of mixed African and Mexican heritage. Unlike people who are automatically classified as black or white, I have always been up for debate. I am forever having to explain to people why it is that I look so white for a black girl, why it is that my features don’t reveal my heritage. It’s not something I should have to explain, but in America, at least, people are obsessed with this dissonance between my face and my race. White Americans in particular have a difficult time understanding why somebody of my background would choose blackness. With Tiger Woods proclaiming himself a Cablinasian, multiracial activists demanding new categories, and Newsweek declaring it hip to be mixed, it strikes most people as odd that I would call myself a black girl.

But my racial identity developed when I was growing up in Boston in the 1970s, where there were only two choices for me: black and white. For my sister, a year older than me, with curly hair and more African features, there weren’t even these choices. There was only black. And my parents, smitten with the black power politics of the time, taught my siblings and me, in no uncertain terms, that we were all black. They saw this identity as armor against the racism beyond our front door. They also knew that my sister didn’t have a choice, and to define us differently would be damaging to us as a family unit. The tact that the world saw each of us as different (my sister as light-skinned black, my brother as Puerto Rican, and me as Italian) raised complications, but didn’t change the fact that we were all one tribe…

Read the entire chapter here. (pages 83-87)

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Doing Race: 21 Essays for the 21st Century

Posted in Anthologies, Anthropology, Books, Census/Demographics, Communications/Media Studies, History, Law, Media Archive on 2010-06-24 18:55Z by Steven

Doing Race: 21 Essays for the 21st Century

W. W. Norton and Company
April 2010
590 pages
6.2 × 9.3 in
Paperback ISBN: 978-0-393-93070-2

Hazel Rose Markus (Editor)
Stanford University

Paula M. L. Moya (Editor)
Stanford University

A collection of new essays, written by a team of interdisciplinary authors, that gives a comprehensive introduction to race and ethnicity.

In Doing Race, scholars from across the disciplines have written original essays on race and ethnicity aimed at an undergraduate audience. The book provides a practical response to the view, common in American debates, that race and ethnicity no longer matter, or that race and ethnicity should not be taken into account when deciding how to structure society and formulate public policy. It also answers the question of why race and ethnicity play such a large role in fueling violence around the globe.

Doing Race shows that race and ethnicity matter because they are important resources in answering the fundamental, even universal “Who am I?” and “Who are we?” questions. It demonstrates how understanding how identities are shaped by race and ethnicity is central to understanding individual and collective behavior in the United States and throughout the world.

Drawing on the latest science and scholarship, these original essays provide undergraduates with an effective framework for understanding the persistence of racial inequalities and problems in the 21st century.

Table of Contents:

Introduction: Doing Race

Hazel Rose Markus


Paula M. L. Moya

Part I: Inventing Race and Ethnicity

  • Defining Race and Ethnicity: The Constitution, the Court, and the Census, C. Matthew Snipp, Sociology
  • Models of American Ethnic Relations: Hierarchy, Assimilation, and Pluralism, George Fredrickson, History
  • The Biology of Ancestry: DNA, Genomic Variation, and Race, Marcus W. Feldman, Biology
  • Which Differences Make a Difference? Race, Health, and DNA, Barbara Koenig, Medical Anthropology

Part II: Racing Difference

  • The Jew as the Original ‘Other’: Difference, Antisemitism, and Race, Aron Rodrigue, History
  • Knowing the ‘Other’: Arabs, Islam, and the West, Joel Beinin, History
  • Eternally Foreign: Asian Americans, History, and Race, Gordon H. Chang, History
  • A Thoroughly Modern Concept: Ethnic Cleansing, Genocide, and the State, Norman M. Naimark, History

Part III: Institutionalizing Difference

  • Race in the News: Stereotypes, Political Campaigns, and Market-Based Journalism, Shanto Iyengar, Communication and Political Science
  • Going Back to Compton: Real Estate, Racial Politics, and Black-Brown Relations, Albert M. Camarillo, History
  • Structured for Failure: Race, Resources, and Student Achievement, Linda Darling-Hammond, Education
  • Racialized Mass Incarceration: Poverty, Prejudice, and Punishment, Lawrence D. Bobo and Victor Thompson, Sociology

Part IV: Racing Identity

  • Who Am I? Race, Ethnicity, and Identity, Hazel Rose Markus, Psychology
  • In the Air Between Us: Stereotypes, Identity, and Achievement, Claude M. Steele, Psychology
  • Ways of Being White: Privilege, Stigma, and Transcendence, Monica McDermott, Sociology
  • Blacks as Criminal, Blacks as Apes: Race, Representation, and Social Justice, Jennifer L. Eberhardt, Psychology
  • We’re Honoring You Dude: Myths, Mascots, and American Indians, Stephanie Fryberg and Alisha Watts, Psychology

Part V: Re-presenting Reality

  • Another Way to Be: Women of Color, Literature, and Myth, Paula M. L. Moya, English
  • Hiphop and Race: Blackness, Language, and Creativity, Marcyliena Morgan and Dawn-Elissa Fischer, African and African American Studies and Africana Studies
  • The ‘Ethno-Ambiguo Hostility Syndrome’: Mixed-Race, Identity, and Popular Culture, Michele Elam, English
  • ‘We wear the mask’: Performance, Social Dramas, and Race, Harry Elam, Drama
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Stanford profs examine mixed race in U.S. society

Posted in Africa, Articles, Census/Demographics, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, Social Science, South Africa, United States on 2009-12-01 02:00Z by Steven

Stanford profs examine mixed race in U.S. society

The Dartmouth
Victoria Boggiano, The Dartmouth Staff

In 2000, the U.S. Census gave Americans the chance to identify themselves by more than one race for the first time. Almost seven million people — over 80 percent of whom were under 25 — checked more than one box, Stanford University professors Harry and Michele Elam told a crowded auditorium in Haldeman Hall on Thursday. A new global “mixed-race movement” has begun, they said in their lecture, titled “The High Stakes of Mixed Race: Post-Race, Post-Apartheid Performances in the U.S. and South Africa.”

The couple’s research stems from studies they have conducted to analyze theatrical performances in the United States and South Africa. Claiming that performance is a “transformative force for institutional and social change,” the Elams examined a variety of plays from these two countries. The research provided the couple with insight into the effect of the worldwide “mixed-race movement” on race politics and cultural identities, Harry said.

“We’re arguing that analyzing mixed race as a type of social performance can help us make sense of some of these new cultural dynamics,” he said…

…In the United States, the “mixed-race movement” is comprised of an uneasy coalition of “interracial couples, transracial adoptees and a new generation of mixed-race-identified youth,” the Elams said…

Read the entire article here.

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