22nd Annual David Noble Lecture featuring Robin D.G. Kelley

Posted in Biography, Live Events, Media Archive, Passing, United States, Women on 2016-04-26 20:31Z by Steven

22nd Annual David Noble Lecture featuring Robin D.G. Kelley

Best Buy Theater
Northrop Auditorium
84 Church Street, SE
Minneapolis, Minnesota 55455
Tuesday, 2016-04-26, 19:00 CDT (Local Time)

Robin D.G. Kelley, Distinguished Professor of History & Gary B. Nash Endowed Chair in United States History
University of California, Los Angeles

The 22nd Annual David Noble Lecture will feature Robin D.G. Kelley. His talk is titled “‘A Female Candide’: U.S. Empire, Racial Cartographies, and the Education of Grace Halsell, 1952 – 1986.” Kelley’s talk focuses on Texas-born journalist Grace Halsell, who spent part of the Cold War as a foreign correspondent, including a stint in Vietnam, working as a staff writer under President Lyndon B. Johnson, and engaged in investigations into U.S. “internal colonies.” She chemically darkened her skin and lived as a black woman in Harlem and Mississippi, resulting in her book, Soul Sister; she published Bessie Yellowhair about living as a Navajo and working as a housekeeper; and The Illegals, a book about passing as an undocumented worker from Mexico. In the course of her travels and experiments in racial passing, the worlds she encountered undermined the conceits she grew up with. Halsell’s world view, schooled in Cold War liberalism, Southern paternalism & white supremacy, and domesticity, begins to unravel especially after her stint in Vietnam, and even more so when she turns her attention to the U.S., its ghettos, reservations, borders and finally to Palestine. So in some ways, this is a classic loss of innocence story.

For more information, click here.

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‘A Dreadful Deceit’ argues against a ‘racial’ past

Posted in Articles, Book/Video Reviews, History, Media Archive, United States on 2013-12-23 18:44Z by Steven

‘A Dreadful Deceit’ argues against a ‘racial’ past

The Los Angeles Times

Robin D.G. Kelley, Distinguished Professor of History
University of California, Los Angeles

Jacqueline Jones in ‘A Dreadful Deceit’ aims to debunk the ‘myth of race’ and the ‘American creation story’ but for the most part is unconvincing in her argument.

Jacqueline Jones, A Dreadful Deceit: The Myth of Race from the Colonial Era to Obama’s America (New York: Basic Books, 2013).

Four years ago, Atty. Gen. Eric Holder called us a “nation of cowards” for refusing to confront our racial past. Jacqueline Jones’A Dreadful Deceit” dismisses the very idea that our past is “racial.”

What Holder identifies as our national burden, Jones calls the “American creation story”: the narrative that slavery was born of racial prejudice and that the election of a black president marked a triumph over the long shadow of race. Her objective is to debunk the “myth of race,” to relieve Americans of the specious belief that “race is real and that race matters.”

Jones is not the first. Franz Boas, W.E.B. DuBois and Ashley Montagu are among a veritable sea of scholars who have shown that “race” has no scientific basis. It is a socially created means of classifying and ranking humans based on any number of criteria. It is about power, not biology…

…”A Dreadful Deceit’s” insistence that race is not a factor leads Jones to ignore racism’s role in creating economic inequality. Today’s workforce, she asserts, is “defined less by skin color and history than by shared powerlessness within a global economy.” But if truly “shared,” how do we explain the widening wealth gap between whites and blacks or that the world’s cheap apparel is made in the global South by a non-white, super-exploited labor force?

Jones generally treats “race” (a means of classifying difference) as a proxy for “racism” (a hierarchical system of subjugation based on race). The point is not that race explains everything but that racism is built into the very structure of the economy. Race may be a myth, but racism survives

Read the entire review here.

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