Thinking In Colour

Posted in Audio, Biography, Media Archive, Passing, Social Science, United States on 2021-05-25 14:23Z by Steven

Thinking In Colour

BBC Radio 4
British Broadcasting Corporation

Gary Younge, Professor of Sociology
Manchester University, Manchester, United Kingdom

Caitlin Smith, Producer
Tony Phillips, Executive Producer

Bliss Broyard and her father Anatole Broyard (photo: Sandy Broyard)

Passing is a term that originally referred to light skinned African Americans who decided to live their lives as white people. The civil rights activist Walter White claimed in 1947 that every year in America, 12-thousand black people disappeared this way. He knew from first-hand experience. The black president of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People had blonde hair and blue eyes which meant he was able to investigate lynching in the Deep South, while passing in plain sight.

In a strictly segregated society, life on the other side of the colour line could be easier. But it came at a price.

Here, Gary Younge, Professor of Sociology at Manchester University, explores stories of racial passing through the prism of one of his favourite books, Passing, by Nella Larsen.

The 1929 novella brought the concept into the mainstream. It tells the story of two friends; both African-American though one ‘passes’ for white. It’s one of Gary Younge’s, favourite books, for all that it reveals about race, class and privilege.

Gary speaks with Bliss Broyard, who was raised in Connecticut in the blue-blood, mono-racial world of suburbs and private schools. Her racial identity was ensconced in the comfort of insular whiteness. Then in early adulthood Bliss’ world was turned upside down. On her father’s deathbed she learned he was in fact a black man who had been passing as white for most of his life. How did this impact Bliss’ identity and sense of self?

Gary hears three extraordinary personal accounts, each a journey towards understanding racial identity, and belonging. With Bliss Broyard, Anthony Ekundayo Lennon, Georgina Lawton and Professor Jennifer DeVere Brody.

Excerpts from ‘Passing’ read by Robin Miles, the Broadway actress who has narrated books written by Kamala Harris and Roxane Gay.

Listen to the story (00:28:00) here.

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Politics: President Obama, of All People, Should Know That Some Rights Can’t be Left to the States

Posted in Articles, Barack Obama, Gay & Lesbian, Law, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, United States on 2011-07-23 04:26Z by Steven

Politics: President Obama, of All People, Should Know That Some Rights Can’t be Left to the States

The New Gay

Tony Phillips

In 1961, when Barack Hussein Obama II was born in the brand new State of Hawaii, laws on the books in 22 of the other 49 United States forbade the marriage of his White American mother to his Black Kenyan father. Arizona’s anti-miscegenation law prohibiting marriage between whites and any persons of color was repealed in 1962. Similar laws in Utah and Nebraska were overturned the following year. Indiana’s law prohibiting interracial marriage held out until 1965, Maryland’s until 1967, the same year that such laws were finally overturned in Alabama, Arkansas, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia and West Virginia with the Supreme Court’s ruling in Loving v. Virginia that ended all race-based legal restrictions on marriage in the United States…

…Yes, we all know about America’s racially conflicted past, so what’s the point?
The point is that it’s incomprehensible to me that Barack Obama, a man whose legitimacy as an American has been publicly questioned by hate-rousing provocateurs, a man whose early life confounds the prevailing norms of his generation, a man whose ascendency in the 21st Century was made possible only by the bravery of justice-seekers in the 20th, that he, of all people, would be behind the times on marriage equality. How is it possible that his stance on gay marriage is still evolving?

Read the entire article here.

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