Film Screening with Director in Attendance: “Becoming Black”(2019)

Posted in Africa, Autobiography, Europe, Live Events, Media Archive, Videos on 2021-11-12 16:07Z by Steven

Film Screening with Director in Attendance: “Becoming Black”(2019)

Black German Heritage & Research Association
Online Event
Wednesday, 2021-11-17, 17:30-19:30Z (12:30-14:30 EST)

As the next segment of our ongoing All Black Lives Matter event series, and in cooperation with the Waterloo Centre for German Studies, The University of Toronto, and Africana Studies at Rutgers University-Camden, the Black German Heritage and Research Association (BGHRA) is pleased to invite you to a film screening of Ines Johnson-Spain’s autobiographical documentary “Becoming Black“(2019).

SYNOPSIS: Becoming Black (dir. Ines Johnson-Spain, 2019, 91 min.):

In the 1960s, the East German Sigrid falls in love with Lucien from Togo, one of several African students studying at a trade school on the outskirts of East Berlin. She becomes pregnant, but is already married to Armin. Sigrid and Armin raise their daughter as their own, withholding from her knowledge of her African paternal heritage. That child grows up to become the filmmaker Ines Johnson-Spain. In filmed encounters with her aging stepfather Armin and others from her youth, Johnson-Spain tracks the strategies of denial developed by her parents and the surrounding community. Her intimate but also critical exploration comprising both painful and confusing childhood memories and matter-of-fact accounts testifies to a culture of repression. When blended with movingly warm encounters with her Togolese family, Becoming Black becomes a thought-provoking reflection on identity, social norms and family ties.

The link to view the film will be posted on Eventbrite for registrants to stream from November 15-18, 2021.

For more information and to register, click here.

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As a white supremacist society, the United States privileges Dolezal’s challenging ethnoracial boundaries.

Posted in Excerpts/Quotes on 2017-05-28 21:14Z by Steven

As a white supremacist society, the United States privileges [Rachel] Dolezal’s challenging ethnoracial boundaries. This is so unlike the thousands of blacks who quietly dissolved into the white population a century ago. A media stir would have cost them their lives. Even Anatole Broyard, the New York Times film critic who passed away in 1990 took his hidden blackness to the grave to be taken seriously in his career as a writer. At the same time, unlike the acceptance that many Afro-Brazilians have for their negra frustradas, many Afro-Americans find her problematic at best. Their relatives and ancestors who passed as white (or do so now) do not receive the same rewards. Instead, it has to be quiet without any fuss, for fear of upsetting the status quo.

Chinyere Osuji, Ph.D., “Rachel Dolezal: ‘Negra Frustrada’ (Frustrated Black Woman),” Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, May 24, 2017.

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Rachel Dolezal: ‘Negra Frustrada’ (Frustrated Black Woman)

Posted in Articles, Brazil, Caribbean/Latin America, Communications/Media Studies, Media Archive, Passing, Social Justice, United States on 2017-05-25 01:25Z by Steven

Rachel Dolezal: ‘Negra Frustrada’ (Frustrated Black Woman)

Chinyere Osuji
Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey

Chinyere Osuji, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Sociology
Rutgers University, Camden

Rachel Dolezal

Race is a social construction. We have heard that phrase over and over again to the point that it has become a bit hackneyed. When I teach my sociology students, I tell them, “Sociologists study what people do together: we create families, schools, economic systems.” All of these things are social constructions that are produced, reproduced, and even demolished because people together make it so.

And then Rachel Dolezal comes along…

Read the entire article here.

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Lessons to my child

Posted in Dissertations, Family/Parenting, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, United States on 2016-09-21 21:14Z by Steven

Lessons to my child

Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey
May 2012
98 pages
DOI: 10.7282/T3GB221X

Ayanna S. Boyd

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, interracial marriages have continued to increase with 8.4 million people in mixed marriages in 2005. With the increasing number of interracial marriages, there has been a surge of multiracial children who do not fit neatly into our society’s longstanding classification system. As research has consistently validated the realm of racial choices that are now available to biracial children, the parent’s role becomes more important to consider (Rockquemore & Brunsma, 2002). This exploratory study was designed to understand how Black/White interracial parents perceive their children’s identity and how they negotiate identity with their children. Furthermore, the goal of this study is to uncover some of the strategies and lessons they transmit to their biracial children in order to shape their racial identity. This study involved 8 White/Black interracial couples raising biracial children. The children’s ages ranges from 4 to 24. Each couple was interviewed using an audio recorder, and their information was analyzed qualitatively using the grounded theory approach (Corbin & Strauss, 2008). This study revealed major themes connected to interracial couples and their racial perceptions and strategies for their biracial children. These themes included 1) the importance of humanity over race, 2) supportive families, 3) purposeful and deliberate racial strategies (both proactive and reactive) including open dialogue, dolls, books, events and experiences, 4) society’s Hispanic view of their children, and 5) hair issues with biracial girls. Limitations and recommendations for future research are discussed.

Read the entire dissertation here.

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A comparative study of familial racial socialization and its impact on black/white biracial siblings

Posted in Dissertations, Family/Parenting, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, Social Science, United States on 2016-09-21 20:35Z by Steven

A comparative study of familial racial socialization and its impact on black/white biracial siblings

Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey
May 2014
134 pages
DOI: 10.7282/T33N21PQ

Monique Anne Porow

A Dissertation submitted to the Graduate School-New Brunswick Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy Graduate Program in Sociology

This dissertation examines the nature of racial socialization within the families of biracial people. Unlike previous studies of racial socialization of children with one Black and one White parent, this project broadens the scope of influential agents of racial socialization. Utilizing an inclusive approach, I examine the role that parents, extended family members, and siblings play in the process of shaping the racial identity development of biracial people. Through the use of a grounded theory approach, I draw upon data from 22 qualitative, semi-structured interviews with people who have one Black and one White parent. I utilize their responses to questions regarding the nature of their relationship with various family members, and the impact of those experiences.

The 22 respondents included in this study composed 10 sibling sets: 8 dyads and 2 triads. This comparative sibling design provides a context ripe with information about the family inaccessible through other study designs. Employing this sibling study, I elucidate the nature of messages conveyed regarding race, from various members of the family, and I theorize these complex and overlooked processes of racial socialization. I outline agent-specific mechanisms of racial socialization within the family illustrating that parents are not the only influential agents as extant literature would suggest. I argue that all members of the family can be influential agents when engaging agent-specific mechanisms of racial socialization. Those mechanisms include: parents acting as direct and strategic agents of racial socialization, extended family members acting as indirect cultivators of group-belonging or exclusion, and sibling ancillary support to biracial people negotiating and developing their racial identities.

There is an interconnectedness of influence that results from these various approaches to racial socialization. I conceptualize these complex and agent-specific mechanisms, through a figure called the Family Nexus of Racial Socialization. This concept enhances our present understanding of how various family members engage in racial socialization, and the interconnectedness of their influence.

Read the entire dissertation here.

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On the color line: the social consequences of White/Black biracial self-categorization

Posted in Dissertations, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, United States on 2016-09-21 20:08Z by Steven

On the color line: the social consequences of White/Black biracial self-categorization

Rutgers University, New Brunswick
October 2011
71 pages
DOI: 10.7282/T3V9874P

Leigh Solano Wilton

A thesis submitted to the Graduate School-New Brunswick Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Science Graduate Program in Psychology

Black/White biracial individuals are marginal group members at the periphery of both Black (i.e., low status) and White (i.e., high status) groups. However, scant research has investigated the consequences of self-categorization for how multiracial people are perceived. The proposed research investigated the extent to which perceptions of White/Black biracial targets depend on their self-categorization (i.e., as Black or biracial). Drawing from social identity theory, I also examined whether perceivers’ race and racial identification moderated responses to biracial targets’ self-categorization, as well as the mechanisms that may account for differential responses to biracial targets (e.g., perceptions of loyalty) that guide perceiver’s evaluations of these targets. Consistent with expectations, Black perceivers saw the biracial target as higher in social status. However, only Black (and not White) perceivers positively evaluated the Black self-categorizing target as more competent than the biracial self-categorizing target. The hypothesis that perceivers higher in racial identification would show more favorability towards the Black self-categorizing target than the biracial self-categorizing target was not supported for either Black or White participants. Moreover, the predicted significant three-way interaction of racial identification with race and condition on disloyalty was not found. Thus, racial identification did not moderate these effects.

Read the entire thesis here.

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The canary in the post-racial coal mine

Posted in Dissertations, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, United States on 2016-09-21 19:47Z by Steven

The canary in the post-racial coal mine

Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey
35 pages
DOI: 10.7282/T30Z71WG

Roxanne Huertas

A Capstone Project submitted to the Graduate School-Camden Rutgers-The State University in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Arts in Liberal Studies

The American mulatto has been employed by writers over time to provide commentary on American race relations. We can look to antebellum writers like Lydia Maria Child or William Wells Brown as an example of the state of the black-white dynamic prior to or just following the Civil War. Examining Nella Larsen’s Passing can give insight into the status of race relations during the Harlem Renaissance. But as America has evolved into a so-called post-racial society, does the mulatto still serve as a vehicle for commentary on American race relations? Through a brief examination of earlier examples of literature with these biracial characters coupled with an in depth analysis of two contemporary novels, Danzy Senna’s Caucasia and Heidi Durrow’s The Girl Who Fell from the Sky, this paper will show several of the ways in which the mulatto does provide a model in which to gauge American race relations, for better or for worse.

Read the entire project here.

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“These narratives of racial passing have risen from the dead”

Posted in Dissertations, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, Passing, United States on 2015-08-29 01:46Z by Steven

“These narratives of racial passing have risen from the dead”

Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey
May 2015
275 pages
DOI: 10.7282/T38G8NJG

Donavan L. Ramon

Ph.D. Dissertation

Instead of concurring with most critics that racial passing literature reached its apex during the Harlem Renaissance, this project highlights its persistence, as evidenced in the texts examined from 1900 to 2014. Using psychoanalysis, this dissertation recovers non-canonical and white-authored narratives that critics overlook, thus reconceptualizing the genre of passing literature to forge a new genealogy for this tradition. This new genealogy includes novels, life writings, and short stories. In arguing for the genre’s continued relevance and production, this project offers a rejoinder to critics who contend that racial passing literature is obsolete. Part one of this dissertation complicates the notion that characters pass only in response to witnessing a lynching or to improve their socioeconomic status, by asserting that racial passing begins in the classroom for male characters and at home for their female counterparts. It thus precedes the threat of violence or middle class aspirations. Whereas the first half of this project is preoccupied with the gendered beginnings of racial passing, the second half examines its effects, on both writing and death. This project explores racial passing in Charles Chesnutt’s The House Behind the Cedars (1900), James Weldon Johnson’s The Autobiography of an Ex-Colored Man (1912), Jessie Fauset’s Plum Bun (1929), Vera Caspary’s The White Girl (1929), Alice Dunbar-Nelson’s The Stones of the Village (1988), Danzy Senna’s Caucasia (1999), Philip Roth’s The Human Stain (2000), Bliss Broyard’s One Drop (2003) and Anita Reynolds’ American Cocktail (2014).

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Seeking Biracial Participants for Study on Social Experiences

Posted in Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, United States, Wanted/Research Requests/Call for Papers on 2015-08-25 13:39Z by Steven

Seeking Biracial Participants for Study on Social Experiences

Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey
Department of Psychology

Analia Albuja

Multiracial and multicultural populations have grown tremendously in recent years, yet their unique social experiences remain understudied. The present study is being conducted by Analia Albuja, a graduate student in social psychology and attempts to fill this gap by exploring social experiences and well-being among biracial people.

You are invited to participate in this project by completing a survey about your experiences. The study is entirely online and should take about 20 minutes to complete. You may participate if you self-identify as biracial, check more than one race, or who have parents of different races.

If you have any questions, you may e-mail Ms. Albuja at

To participate in the study, click here.

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The fluidity of race

Posted in Anthropology, Asian Diaspora, Dissertations, History, Media Archive, Oceania on 2015-01-02 20:18Z by Steven

The fluidity of race

Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey
May 2012
221 pages
DOI: 10.7282/T3FN154X

Nicholas Trajano Molnar, Assistant Professor
Department of History, Philosophy, and Religious Studies
Community College of Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

This study is an examination of the American mestizos who lived in the Philippines from 1900 to 1955. No scholarly studies exist that analyze and historicize this group, but this is understandable, as the population of the American mestizos compared to the overall Filipino population is miniscule, never exceeding 20,000 individuals at any one time. Despite their small numbers, the American mestizos were a matter of social concern for the Philippine state and the expatriate Americans and Filipino nationalists who resided there. Various actors in the Philippines carried their own imposed racializations of the group that changed over time, ranging from American expatriates who emphasized the group’s “American” blood to Filipino nationalists who embraced them as Filipinos.

This study will demonstrate that the boundaries of race have been constantly shifting, with no single imposed or self-ascribed American mestizo identity coalescing. American mestizo racial definitions and constructs are historically and regionally specific, complicating conventional scholarly assumptions and requiring a historically grounded approach to the understanding of race and ethnicity. This study makes theoretical contributions to the study of race in the United States and its former colonies. Contemporary literature seeks to explain by what means racial identity is created and maintained. My study, however, seeks to explore racial formation from another angle, exploring why a distinct group identity never coalesced among the American mestizos despite the presence of similar economic, historical, and social forces that have clearly led to racial formation in other groups.

The concept of the American mestizo and the fluid Philippine racial framework challenged static American notions of race. I argue that contact with the Philippines led to an assimilation of Filipino racial ideas among American expatriates, who in turn created their own colonialized concepts of race and nationality, demonstrating that under certain historical conditions, American concepts of race had room to bend. Tracking the transmittal of these hybridized ideas, and their transformations and various interpretations at each venue, allows us to gain insight into the malleability of Philippine and American notions of nation and race, and into the larger processes of racial construction overall.

Request a copy of the dissertation here.

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