Jay Smooth: The Ill Doctrine, Underground Railroad & Disenfranchised cheese puffs

Posted in Audio, Interviews, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, United States on 2016-02-08 00:51Z by Steven

Jay Smooth: The Ill Doctrine, Underground Railroad & Disenfranchised cheese puffs

The Katie Halper Show

Katie Halper, Host

On our first episode of the Live Katie Halper Show I front of an audience we talk to Jay Smooth, founder and host of The Underground Railroad and of the Ill Doctrine video series. His videos have garnered millions of views and praise from people like Rachel Maddow who has called his work genius. Find out what Jay Smooth’s favorite drink and snack are, what he thinks of gun violence, Empire, gentrification and what his grandfather said about The Beatles in the New York Times.

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Why It Was Easy for Rachel Dolezal to Pass as Black

Posted in Articles, History, Media Archive, Passing, Slavery, United States on 2015-12-29 03:34Z by Steven

Why It Was Easy for Rachel Dolezal to Pass as Black

Pacific Standard

Lisa Wade, Associate Professor of Sociology
Occidental College, Los Angeles, California

Race is more social than biological.

Source: (1)ne Drop Project

Earlier this year a CBS commentator in a panel with Jay Smooth embarrassingly revealed that she thought he was white (Smooth’s father is black) and last week the Internet learned that Rachel Dolezal was white all along (both parents identify as white). The CBS commentator’s mistake and Dolezal’s ability to pass both speak to the strange way we’ve socially constructed blackness in this country.

The truth is that African Americans are essentially all mixed race. From the beginning, enslaved and other Africans had close relationships with poor and indentured servant whites, that’s one reason why so many black people have Irish last names. During slavery, sexual relationships between enslavers and the enslaved, occurring on a range of coercive levels, were routine. Children born to enslaved women from these encounters were identified as “black.” The one-drop rule—you are black if you have one drop of black blood—was an economic tool used to protect the institution of racialized slavery (by preserving the distinction between two increasingly indistinct racial groups) and enrich the individual enslaver (by producing another human being he could own). Those enslaved children grew up and had children with other enslaved people as well as other whites…

Read the entire article here.

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Vulnerability as Empowerment in the Classroom

Posted in Articles, Media Archive, Teaching Resources, United States on 2015-09-13 02:04Z by Steven

Vulnerability as Empowerment in the Classroom

Education Week

Christina Torres, Middle and high school English and Drama Teacher
University Laboratory School, Honolulu, Hawaii

It’s back-to-school time for many students and teachers this week. For many, it means that 20 to 120 new faces enter our classrooms and our lives.

Jessica, a fifth-grade teacher in Chicago, wrote this beautiful piece on the vulnerability of her new students after asking them to share how they saw themselves reflected in literary characters:

I was in awe of the bravery of these kids. To speak this freely in front of their classmates. To tell these things to me, their teacher, who they barely even know at this point. That is bravery.

What they showed me is their capability to make themselves vulnerable. To be willing to share the deepest parts of themselves. To leave behind the worry of how others would react and share these moments and glimpses into their lives with us all.

The piece hits on an aspect of education that is often forgotten: students not only look to us for content, they also can experience either empowerment or oppression based on the culture of our classrooms

We have to face this with our students head on. We must not only acknowledge this truth with students but also attempt to build trust in a space that has failed to validate their identities.

Here’s the thing: we have all been biased, and we have been hurt by biases. As Jay Smooth discusses in his seminal talk, “How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Discussing Race,” “the race constructs that we live in in America were shaped … for centuries by a need to rationalize and justify indefensible acts.” Because of this, we “will never bat a thousand when it comes to dealing with race issues.” We’re going to mess up, which is difficult when the stakes feel so high…

Read the entire article here.

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But I do think that there is a tradition of a loving welcoming inclusive blackness that is important as a rejection and a counter to the historical function of whiteness.

Posted in Excerpts/Quotes on 2015-06-23 00:56Z by Steven

“My father is black. My mother is white. I self-identify as black and as mixed and I don’t relate to those as mutually exclusive. I also try to be mindful and try to have a certain humility about how my experience differs from most other black people; about how I have certain types of residual white privilege which I don’t believe makes me less black. I also know that it is ultimately not up to me whether I am accepted as black. My experience though, has almost always been of black people welcoming me and accepting me as their own. And it’s only because of that lifetime of experience that I would feel comfortable telling Nancy Giles,“actually I’m black.” And I knew that even within that moment, I could tell her that and she would get it. And I’m not saying that there is never any exclusion within the black community. I’m not negating people who have experienced that. But I do think that there is a tradition of a loving welcoming inclusive blackness that is important as a rejection and a counter to the historical function of whiteness. It’s a tradition I’ve experienced as a beautiful thing and as Adam Serwer said, it’s a beautiful thing that Rachel Dolezal has “taken advantage of,” that she has manipulated, that she has poisoned just a little bit with what she’s done here.”

Jay Smooth, ““Empathy does not preclude accountability:” Jay Smooth on Rachel Dolezal,” Fusion, June 18, 2015 (00:01:53-00:03:11). http://fusion.net/video/153151/empathy-does-not-preclude-accountability-jay-smooth-on-rachel-dolezal/.

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“Empathy does not preclude accountability:” Jay Smooth on Rachel Dolezal

Posted in Media Archive, Passing, Social Science, United States, Videos on 2015-06-19 20:46Z by Steven

“Empathy does not preclude accountability:” Jay Smooth on Rachel Dolezal


Jay Smooth

Last night, while I was in the midst of making a video on the Rachel Dolezal situation, the news broke of this horrific racist killing in Charleston South Carolina. After much deliberation we have decided to release the video as scheduled, and I believe its core message is still relevant to the moment. But please know my whole heart is with the people of Charleston, Emanuel AME Church, and everyone affected by this wholly unthinkable yet all too American act of terrorism.

Watch the video here.

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What is Systemic Racism?

Posted in History, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, Social Science, United States, Videos on 2015-05-13 17:27Z by Steven

What is Systemic Racism?

Race Forward

Rinku Sen President of Race Forward & Publisher of Colorlines introduces the “What Is Systemic Racism?” video series featuring our very own Jay Smooth.

Watch the entire video series here.

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‘I’m actually black’: Awkwardness ensues when journalist calls radio host Jay Smooth white

Posted in Articles, Interviews, Media Archive, United States, Videos on 2015-03-19 01:28Z by Steven

‘I’m actually black’: Awkwardness ensues when journalist calls radio host Jay Smooth white

Raw Story

David Ferguson

In one of the most cringe-worthy moments of television you will ever see, on Tuesday night’s All In with Chris Hayes, activist Nancy Giles of CBS Sunday Morning accused hip hop critic and cultural commentator Jay Smooth of being a white man who is trying to “code switch,” i.e., talk “black” to reach the rap audience.

Smooth — who was born John Randolph to a black father and a white mother — gently explained to Giles that he is, in fact, black.

The discussion began innocently enough, with Hayes and his two guests discussing Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz’s decree that all U.S. baristas should write the words “Race together” in Sharpie on their paper cups in order to foster a dialogue about race with their customers.

But after watching Smooth’s clip “How to Tell Someone They Sound Racist,” Giles took it upon herself to comment on Smooth’s “co-opting blackness.”…

Read the entire article here. Watch the interview here.

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How To Tell Someone They Sound Racist

Posted in Communications/Media Studies, Media Archive, Videos on 2015-03-18 15:41Z by Steven

How To Tell Someone They Sound Racist

Ill Doctrine

Jay Smooth

You gotta use some strategy. See more of this discussion here.

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PHOTOS: 3rd Annual What Are You?

Posted in Articles, Live Events, Media Archive, My Articles/Point of View/Activities, Social Science, United States on 2014-01-24 03:49Z by Steven

PHOTOS: 3rd Annual What Are You?

Crossing Borders, Bridging Generations
Brooklyn Historical Society
Fall 2013

Nayantara Sen, CBBG Project Associate

All photos by Willie Davis for Brooklyn Historical Society, 2013

Steven Riley, Founder of MixedRaceStudies.org gives a few remarks before introducing one of the panels. A participant in the packed the house in Brooklyn Historical Society’s newly renovated Great Hall asks a question.

The 3rd Annual What Are You? event packed the house in Brooklyn Historical Society’s newly renovated Great Hall!

This year’s discussion about mixed heritage had a thematic focus on art, media, and performance as avenues for engaging mixed-heritage identity and politics.

Artist Chris Johnson explained the genesis of Question Bridge: Black Males: what would it be like to listen in like a fly on the wall to conversations Black men are having with their peers? What conversations across age, class, and experience are not happening that we wish would happen? What questions do Black men have for other Black men?

Natasha Logan, a producer for Question Bridge: Black Males shared some incredible photographs from an exhibition she curated titled White Boys, highlighting the ways in which white male identity is neutralized or made invisible…

…Many thanks to all of you who came and participated in conversations and shared your stories and questions with Crossing Borders, Bridging Generations! And special thanks to Steven Riley, Founder of MixedRaceStudies.org, and Kenda Danowski from SWIRL and founder of NAMSO (National Association for Mixed Student Organizations) for MC’ing!

Read the entire article and view the photographs here.

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3rd Annual: What Are You? – A Discussion about Mixed Heritage

Posted in Communications/Media Studies, Identity Development/Psychology, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Live Events, Media Archive, Social Science, United States on 2013-11-09 15:58Z by Steven

3rd Annual: What Are You? – A Discussion about Mixed Heritage

Brooklyn Historical Society
Crossing Borders, Bridging Generations
Saturday, 2013-11-09, 14:00 EST (Local Time)

From the Travyon Martin murder trial, to racist responses to the Cheerios commercial starring an interracial couple, recent media events illustrate that the U.S is definitely not post-racial. Join BHS in exploring critical questions relating to multicultural and multiracial identity. We’ll discuss big questions like: How do we perform and display our identities? How does media, film, art, humor and photography shape and mediate mixed-race identity?

I will be introducing the panelists.

Panelists include:

Plus a dance performance by special guests – We’re Muslim, Don’t Panic.

Co-sponsored by LovingDay.org, SWIRL, MAVIN: The Mixed Heritage Experience, and MixedRaceStudies.org.

Brooklyn Brewery beer and light refreshments will be served.

For more information, click here.

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