Dawn of the Different: The Mulatto Zombie in Zack Snyder’s Dawn of the Dead

Posted in Articles, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, United Kingdom on 2012-08-02 02:45Z by Steven

Dawn of the Different: The Mulatto Zombie in Zack Snyder’s Dawn of the Dead

The Journal of Popular Culture
Volume 45, Issue 3 (June 2012)
pages 551–571
DOI: 10.1111/j.1540-5931.2012.00944.x

Justin Ponder

WHILE ZOMBIE FILMS DO NOT BLATANTLY FOCUS ON miscegenation or mulattos, interracial themes abound in them. In George A. Romero’s Night of the Living Dead (1968), Ben, a black man, saves Barbra, a white woman, from hordes of zombies. From this moment on, the film binds this interracial couple, casting them as partners attempting to survive the horrific attacks of the living dead. Cristina Isabel Pinedo (Recreational Terror: Women and the Pleasures of Horror Film Vieiwng) claims that “racial silence” is the film’s “structuring absence,” and this absence falls no more silent than the romance this interracial coupling implies (29). The film pairs the cantankerous and controlling Mr. Cooper with the long-suffering and submissive Mrs. Cooper while coupling the young, star-crossed lovers Tom and Judy. According to North American cinematic logic, one could safely assume that Ben and Barbra, the remaining adults, would fall in love by film’s end. While the late 60s might have been ready to see a black man save, protect, and even punch a white woman, the era apparently was not prepared to see him walk away hand-in-hand with her as innumerable zombies rise from the dead to keep Night’s black white couple from the normative romantic conclusion of North American cinema.

This romantic tension between black man and white woman continues in Romero’s 1978 Dawn of the Dead. The film focuses on four survivors: Fran, a resourceful news producer; Steve, a helicopter pilot and Fran’s lover; Roger, a S.W.A.T. team member; and Peter, a S.W.A.T. team member and the quartet’s only black man. Robin Wood (“Normality and Monsters: The Films of Larry Cohen and…

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Obama and the Biracial Factor: The Battle for a New American Majority

Posted in Anthologies, Barack Obama, Books, Communications/Media Studies, History, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, Social Science, United States on 2012-03-11 17:50Z by Steven

Obama and the Biracial Factor: The Battle for a New American Majority

Policy Press
February 2012
256 pages
234 x 156 mm
Hardback ISBN-10: 1447301005; ISBN-13: 978-1447301004

Andrew J. Jolivétte, Associate Professor of American Indian Studies (Also see biographies at Speak Out! and Native Wiki.)
Center for Health Disparities Research and Training
San Fransisco State University

Since the election in 2008 of Barack Obama to the Presidency of the United States there have been a plethora of books, films, and articles about the role of race in the election of the first person of color to the White House. None of these works though delves into the intricacies of Mr. Obama’s biracial background and what it means, not only in terms of how the President was elected and is now governing, but what multiraciality may mean in the context of a changing U.S. demographic. Obama and the Biracial Factor is the first book to explore the significance of mixed-race identity as a key factor in the election of President Obama and examines the sociological and political relationship between race, power, and public policy in the United States with an emphasis on public discourse and ethnic representation in his election. Jolivette and his co-authors bring biracial identity and multiraciality to forefront of our understanding of racial projects since his election. Additionally, the authors assert the salience of mixed-race identity in U.S. policy and the on-going impact of the media and popular culture on the development, implementation, and interpretation of government policy and ethnic relations in the U.S. and globally. This timely work offers foundational analysis and theorization of key new concepts such as mixed-race hegemony and critical mixed race pedagogy and a nuanced exploration of the on-going significance of race in the contemporary political context of the United States with international examples of the impact on U.S. foreign relations and a shifting American electorate. Demographic issues are explained as they relate to gender, race, class, and religion. These new and innovative essays provide a template for re-thinking race in a ‘postcolonial’, decolonial, and ever increasing global context. In articulating new frameworks for thinking about race and multiraciality this work challenges readers to contemplate whether we should strive for a ‘post-racist’ rather than a ‘post-racial’ society. Obama and the Biracial Factor speaks to a wide array of academic disciplines ranging from political science and public policy to sociology and ethnic studies. Scholars, researchers, undergraduate and graduate students as well as community organizers and general audiences interested in issues of equity, social justice, cross-cultural coalitions and political reform will gain new insights into critical mixed race theory and social class in multiracial contexts and beyond.


  • Part I
    • Obama and the biracial factor: An introduction – Andrew Jolivette
    • Race, multiraciality, and the election of Barack Obama: Toward a more perfect union? – G. Reginald Daniel
    • “A Patchwork Heritage” Multiracial citation in Barack Obama’s Dreams from My FatherJustin Ponder
    • Racial revisionism, caste revisited: Whiteness, blackness and Barack Obama – Darryl G. Barthé, Jr.
  • Part II: Beyond black and white identity politics
  • Part III: The battle for a new American majority
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The Ethics of Mixed Race Studies

Posted in Dissertations, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, Philosophy on 2011-03-25 05:26Z by Steven

The Ethics of Mixed Race Studies

The University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee
May 2009
215 pages
Publication Number: AAT 3363443
ISBN: 9781109229738

Justin Ponder

A Dissertation Submitted in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy in English

The Ethics of Mixed Race Studies argues that Mixed Race Studies can challenge racial assumptions with mêtissage . Scholars in this field claim that American discourse has falsely labeled multiracials as monoracial minorities through the unethical use of ambiguity, lying, ignorance, illogic, and stereotype. To challenge this discourse, they encourage multiracials to assert racially mixed identities through the ethics of definition, truth, knowledge, logic, and self-representation. Advocating these virtues, however, scholars imply that the multiracial subject can define, truthfully reveal, know, logically cohere, and represent herself in the first place. This ignores the extent to which all subjects remain opaque to themselves in ways that undermine the ethics of Mixed Race Studies. Considering the complications of definition, truth, knowledge, logic, and self-representation, scholars in this field must also consider the ethics of ambiguity, lying, ignorance, illogic, and stereotype. Rather than advocating definitions that divide multiracials from monoracials, scholars should use ambiguity to blur the lines between them. Instead of claiming that racially mixed people should self-identify truthfully, scholars should explore how self-identifying deceptively can challenge racial thinking.

Scholars encourage the multiracial to know herself, but remaining ignorant of oneself in order to know the racial assumptions of another is a better way to undermine those assumptions. Mixed Race Studies advocates logical discourse, but illogical discourses contain the contradictions necessary to challenge racism. Multiracial autobiographers try to challenge racial assumptions with self-representation, but one might better undermine those assumptions by evoking, repeating, and subverting stereotypes. These ethics of ambiguity, lying, ignorance, illogic, and stereotype fall under what I call ” mêtissage.” Métis is a French word for racially mixed people. Métissage refers to sexual, social, and conceptual hybridity that challenges racism. Mêtis is an ancient Greek term for cunning intelligence by which competitors defeat more powerful opponents. Mêtissage combines these three concepts, challenging métis to subversive forms of métissage that employ mêtis. I conclude that the ethics of Mixed Race Studies can and have challenged racial assumptions in American discourse, but scholars must go further and consider the ethics of mêtissage.

Table of Contents

  • Introduction: The Ethics of Mixed Race Studies
  • 1. The Ethics of Ambiguity: Mixed Race Studies and the Limits of Definition
  • 2. The Ethics of Lying: Mixed Race Studies, the Census, and the Limits of Truth
  • 3. The Ethics of Ignorance: Mixed Race Studies. “What are you?” Encounters, and the Limits of Self-Knowledge
  • 4. The Ethics of Illogic: Mixed Race Studies. Methodology, and the Limits of Logic
  • 5. The Ethics of Stereotype: Mixed Race Studies. Barack Obama’s Dreams from My Father, and the Limits of Self-Representation
  • Conclusion: The Ethics of Metissage: Some Possibilities for Mixed Race Studies

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