…I look at being biracial as a category of being black.

Posted in Excerpts/Quotes on 2015-10-24 21:06Z by Steven

“I consider myself black. I consider myself biracial too. But for me—I’m not trying to define it for other people—because as you just said, other people feel differently. But, I look at being biracial as a category of being black.” —Lacey Schwartz

Ebro in the Morning, “Movie “Little White Lie” Creator Lacey Schwartz Talks Not Knowing She Was Black [VIDEO],” HOT 97, WQHT 97.1 FM New York, New York, November 26, 2014. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TWHrA_-5Fp8. (00:07:02-00:08:10).

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Every Family Has Its Secrets: Lacey Schwartz Connects with Film Forward Audiences in Taiwan

Posted in Articles, Media Archive, Passing, Religion on 2015-09-27 15:58Z by Steven

Every Family Has Its Secrets: Lacey Schwartz Connects with Film Forward Audiences in Taiwan

Sundance Film Forward

Lacey Schwartz, Director Little White Lie

This Sundance Film Forward trip to Taiwan marked the Asian Premiere of Little White Lie. It also was my first time ever in Asia. The things that people seemed to say I had to experience while there were the food and the shopping – I was told soup dumplings and night markets were mandatory. I learned that their passion fruit is addictive. What I didn’t have a sense of was how the audiences in Taiwan would respond to Little White Lie. I wondered if they would be confused by the racial identity dynamics. Would they think the film was revealing too much in a public manner? Would they relate to the struggle to come to terms with family secrets and denial? I had shown the film previously in countries that had much more diversity in their society such as Trinidad where the story seemed to strongly resonate. I wondered if the homogeneity of the people in Taiwan would make Little White Lie harder for them to connect to. The screenings showed that my concerns were unwarranted…

Read the entire article here.

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The top 13 Jewish newsmakers of 5775

Posted in Articles, Autobiography, Judaism, Media Archive, Religion, United States on 2015-09-09 18:33Z by Steven

The top 13 Jewish newsmakers of 5775

JTA: Jewish Telegraphic Agency

Julie Wiener

(JTA) — With the Jewish year winding down, here’s a look back at 13 Jews who repeatedly made the news in 5775. Whether you love them or hate them — or your feelings are purely pareve — it’s hard to deny they had an impact…

…Lacey Schwartz, 38, grew up believing she was a white Ashkenazi Jew, only to discover that her biological father was an African-American man with whom her mother had an affair. In “Little White Lie,” a documentary that screened in major U.S. cities and aired on PBS in March, Schwartz explored her shifting racial identity and what it means to be black — and Jewish — in America. Designated a New York Times Critics’ Pick, the film received favorable reviews overall. Plus, in a year in which high-profile police brutality cases involving black youth and a massacre at a black church have captured the public’s attention, “Little White Lie” has contributed to the larger discussion about race in America…

Read the entire article here.

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Lacey Schwartz didn’t know she was black, but her black friends did

Posted in Articles, Autobiography, Judaism, Media Archive, Passing, Religion, United States on 2015-08-20 20:55Z by Steven

Lacey Schwartz didn’t know she was black, but her black friends did


Collier Meyerson

With two white parents and no black family members (save for a dark Sicilian uncle a couple generations removed), Lacey Schwartz was raised thinking she was white. Growing up, Schwartz’s community was predominantly white: her friends, her classes, her summer camp.

But the few black people in Schwartz’s life struck a nerve—and poked holes in the story she told herself and in the story her family told her.

I worked on Schwartz’s documentary Little White Lie, which details her journey from white to black, of being the product of a family secret overloaded with an extramarital affair, love, and betrayal.

During that time, it wasn’t the salacious stuff I was interested in. I wanted to know about how Schwartz came into blackness and who ushered her in. When you don’t grow up with a black parent or in a black community, or even consciously knowing you are black, how do you become black?

I came to learn that the black people in her life made lasting impressions on her—from near and far—even before she had the language or knowledge of her blackness. They pushed her, listened to her, taught and accepted her.

It was black people who always knew Lacey Schwartz was black. No one had the wool over their eyes. So I asked her about it…

Read the entire interview here.

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Meet the black woman raised to believe she was white

Posted in Articles, Autobiography, Judaism, Media Archive, Passing, Religion, United States on 2015-07-27 00:28Z by Steven

Meet the black woman raised to believe she was white

The Telegraph

Jane Mulkerrins

Schwartz believes that racial identity is “fluid and contextual” Photo: Nicholas Calcott

Growing up, Lacey Schwartz always felt different. It wasn’t until her late teens that she discovered the truth about her parentage – and her race

“Throughout my life, people have asked me why I look the way I do,” says Lacey Schwartz. “I would tell them that my parents were white, which was true. I wasn’t pretending to be something I wasn’t. I grew up being told, and believing, that I was the nice, white, Jewish daughter of two nice, white, Jewish parents.”

But Schwartz, a 38-year-old film-maker, has brown skin, curly hair and full lips. It was only when she was 18 that her mother admitted the truth: that she had had an affair with a friend and former colleague who was black. And that, in all likelihood, he was Lacey’s biological father.

The revelation not only shook her relationship with her mother to the core, but also led Schwartz to question everything she had believed about who she was, and eventually inspired her to make a documentary about the experience, called Little White Lie.

“I started out wanting to make a film about being black and Jewish, because I was really struggling with my dual identity,” she says. “But I was living in a racial closet at the time that was all about my family secret. So I decided to use the film as a way to fully uncover the secret.”…

Read the entire article here.

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From ‘blood quantum’ to multiracial bill of rights, Dolezal saga ignites talk of identity

Posted in Articles, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, Passing, United States on 2015-07-10 20:49Z by Steven

From ‘blood quantum’ to multiracial bill of rights, Dolezal saga ignites talk of identity

The Seattle Times

Nina Shapiro, Seattle Times staff reporter

The endless fascination with the Rachel Dolezal story reveals our hunger to talk about racial identity in all its complexity.

When Amanda Erekson was in her early 20s, a friend introduced her to a Japanese-American woman at a party. “Amanda is Japanese-American, too!” her friend enthused.

“The person was shocked,” Erekson recalls. “I know white people who look more Japanese than you,” the woman said.

The comment stung. Erekson, who is multiracial, identifies strongly with her Japanese-American heritage, although her appearance leads most people to assume she is simply white.

This kind of skeptical reaction is one reason the 33-year-old New Yorker, president of MAVIN, an organization devoted to the multiracial experience, bemoans the international media sensation that is Rachel Dolezal. Because of the former Spokane NAACP president, who resigned from her post Monday after her parents said she had been posing as black, Erekson says “it will be that much harder” for people like her…

…Race — or more specifically racial identity — has been Topic A in the national conversation over the past week. And it is one of the most nuanced and interesting conversations we’ve ever had.

People obviously have a deep need to talk about the subject, and to talk about it in complex ways, says New Jersey filmmaker Lacey Schwartz. She saw that same need in the outpouring of personal stories sparked by the making of her recent film “Little White Lie,” a documentary about growing up in a Jewish family and discovering in college that her biological father is African American…

To some extent, the current conversation involves picking apart details of the Dolezal saga, which seems to get stranger by the day.

Witness Dolezal’s assertion Tuesday, despite a birth certificate produced by Lawrence and Ruthanne Dolezal, that there’s no proof that the couple are her biological parents. She evinced a similar squishiness on NBC’s “Today” show earlier in the day when she said that she “identified” as black.

Whatever story she has that prompts such a statement, she’s not “owning it’ by honestly talking about it, Schwartz says. The filmmaker also objects to Dolezal’s declaration on “Today” that she needed to present herself as black because otherwise it wouldn’t be “plausible” to assume guardianship, as she did, of one of her adopted African-American brothers.

“That is a real diss,” Schwartz says. “My mother is white. I know lots of white people raising children of color.”

Yet, Camille Gear Rich, a professor of law and sociology at the University of Southern California, points out that parents who look different from their children often face incredulous questions. That intrusiveness might have pushed her into “going too far” by lying about her race, Rich says…


Yet this insistence on racial labeling faces a backlash.

MAVIN arose in 1998 in response to a growing desire by multiracial people to identify themselves in ways that might differ from how they are perceived. The group looks to a landmark “bill of rights for people of mixed heritage” produced by Seattle psychologist Maria P.P. Root.

Some key passages: “I have the right … To identify myself differently than strangers expect me to identify. To identify myself differently than how my parents identify me. To identify myself differently than my brothers and sisters. To identify myself differently in different situations.” Also: “I have the right … To change my identity over my lifetime — and more than once.”…

Read the entire article here.

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As Rachel Dolezal Breaks Silence, a Roundtable Discussion on Race, Appropriation and Identity

Posted in Media Archive, Passing, United States, Videos on 2015-06-18 01:11Z by Steven

As Rachel Dolezal Breaks Silence, a Roundtable Discussion on Race, Appropriation and Identity

Democracy Now: A Daily Independent Global News Hour
Wednesday, 2015-06-17

Amy Goodman, Host and Executive Producer

Juan González, Co-Host

Stacey Patton, Senior Enterprise Reporter
The Chronicle of Higher Education

Lacey Schwartz, Chief Executive Officer
Truth Aid (also Producer/director of the documentary film “Little White Lie”)

Linda Martín Alcoff, Professor of Philosophy
Hunter College, City University of New York

Jelani Cobb, Associate Professor of History; Director of the Africana Studies Institute
University of Connecticut

We look at the growing national debate over racial identity sparked by the story of Rachel Dolezal. A Washington state civil rights advocate and educator, Dolezal resigned her post as president of the Spokane chapter of the NAACP on Monday amid reports she falsely identified as black. The controversy began when Dolezal’s parents told reporters their daughter is white, and shared photographs of her as a child. On Tuesday, Dolezal broke her silence, saying she has identified as black since a young age.

Download the episode here.

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Join in the #LittleWhiteLie Twitter Chat with Filmmaker @laceyschwartz & More!

Posted in Identity Development/Psychology, Live Events, Media Archive, Passing, United States on 2015-06-16 18:12Z by Steven

Join in the #LittleWhiteLie Twitter Chat with Filmmaker @laceyschwartz & More!

#LittleWhiteLie, @lwlfilm
2015-06-16, 20:00 EDT (2015-06-17, 00:00Z)

An online discussion on Race, Identity and “Little White Lies”

Lacey Schwartz, Filmmaker (Little White Lie)
Brooklyn, New York

Yaba Blay, Author and Professor
(1)ne Drop: Shifting the Lens on Race

Collier Meyerson, Race & Politics Reporter

Michelle Materre, Filmmaker and Professor
The New School, New York, New York

Jamil Smith, Senior Editor
The New Republic

For more information, click here.

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‘Are you African-American?’

Posted in Interviews, Media Archive, Passing, United States, Videos on 2015-06-14 16:40Z by Steven

‘Are you African-American?’

All In With Chris Hayes

Chris Hayes, Host

Lacey Schwartz, a film-maker who grew up in a white family then discovered that her biological father was black, shares her unique perspective on Rachel Dolezal, the head of the Spokane NAACP whose estranged parents claim is misrepresenting herself as black.

Watch the interview (00:09:19) here.

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4th Annual “What Are You?” with Lacey Schwartz’s “Little White Lie”

Posted in Autobiography, Identity Development/Psychology, Judaism, Live Events, Media Archive, Passing, Religion, United States on 2015-06-08 12:46Z by Steven

4th Annual “What Are You?” with Lacey Schwartz’s “Little White Lie”

Brooklyn Historical Society
128 Pierrepont Street
Brooklyn, New York 11201
Monday, 2015-06-08, 18:30-21:00 EDT (Local Time)

A BHS “Crossing Borders, Bridging Generations” program.

Top: Lacey Schwartz, photo by Michael Hill; Bottom: Lise Funderburg, photo by Tigist Tsegie

On the week of Loving Day 2015, filmmaker Lacey Schwartz comes to BHS to presents her provocative documentary about being a biracial woman who grew up believing she was white, Little White Lie, as part of our 4th Annual What Are You? program looking at mixed heritage and identity.

Lise Funderburg, the author of the ground-breaking book on multiracial identity, Black, White, Other leads Schwartz in a post-screening talkback.

For more information and to reserve a free ticket, click here.

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