How one Civil Rights activist posed as a white man in order to investigate lynchings

Posted in Articles, Audio, Biography, History, Media Archive, Passing, Social Justice, United States on 2022-04-21 20:32Z by Steven

How one Civil Rights activist posed as a white man in order to investigate lynchings

Fresh Air
National Public Radio

Dave Davies, Guest Host

White Lies author A.J. Baime tells the story of Walter White, a light-skinned Black man whose ancestors had been enslaved. For years White risked his life investigating racial violence in the South.

Listen to the story (00:42:04) and read the transcript here.

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Gregory Howard Williams

Posted in Audio, Autobiography, Interviews, Media Archive, Passing, United States, Virginia on 2022-04-05 00:50Z by Steven

Writer Gregory Howard Williams’ “Life on the Color Line”

Fresh Air with Terry Gross
WHYY FM, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Terry Gross, Host

Williams spent the first ten years of his life believing he was white in segregated Virginia, and that his dark-skinned father was Italian. When his parents’ marriage ended, his father took him and his brother to Muncie, Indiana, where the boys learned that they were half black. Williams’ new memoir “Life on the Color Line” is about the struggle and repression he faced growing up between the races. Publisher’s Weekly calls it “(an) affecting and absorbing story.”

Listen to the interview (00:23:10) here. Download the interview here.

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How a work project uncovered my true family roots [NewsWorks]

Posted in Articles, Autobiography, Biography, Media Archive, Passing, United States on 2019-01-25 21:30Z by Steven

How a work project uncovered my true family roots [NewsWorks]

Shannon Wink: Communications, content and digital strategy

Shannon Wink

Back in March, my boss at NewsWorks/WHYY came to me and offered what I then considered to be just a fun opportunity to spread my wings at work.

Months later, I’m still working on the project that’s basically changed the things about my life I’ve always accepted as truth.

Through a grant from WNET and the Henry Louis Gates “Finding Your Roots” initiative, I worked with DNA analysts and genealogical researches to confirm what I’d always been taught about my roots: I’m Native American, but not Irish. Turns out neither is likely true.

The full story is below. It originally ran on NewsWorks as a two-video package.

What do you get when you mix the genes of an Irish guy who was chased away from his family at the barrel of a shotgun with the genes of a gifted jazz musician who spent his life struggling with his own confused racial identity?


Read the entire article here.

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Raising mixed-race kids who feel secure in their identity

Posted in Articles, Family/Parenting, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, United States on 2016-04-12 22:19Z by Steven

Raising mixed-race kids who feel secure in their identity

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Lori L. Tharps, Assistant Professor of Journalism
Temple University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

I’m black American. My husband is from Spain. Before we started a family, the race of my future children never gave me cause for concern or worry. I guess I just assumed that since we lived in the United States, they’d be black like me. I did spend a lot of time researching the most successful ways to raise bilingual children. I actually thought the fact that my children were going to speak two different languages was going to be the biggest difference between us. I was wrong.

My children aren’t just black. They have a Spanish father. So that makes them biracial. And while finding the perfect label or identity box to check off on government forms is hardly a critical issue in my parenting routine, raising children who are secure in their ethnic identity often feels like a struggle.

Living in a country as race obsessed as the United States makes identity politics a necessary evil to explore when family members in the same household are different races. Please note, I firmly believe there is only one human race and that the false construct of race that was invented in the 18th century with intentions of creating a hierarchy of man, is complete and utter hogwash. Unfortunately, because as a nation we subscribe to said hogwash, I would be a bad parent if I did not address these issues with my children who will face questions and challenges about their racial identity. But the questions they face will be and are different from mine. These aren’t the kind of things they teach you how to deal with in a Parenting 101 class…

Read the entire article here.

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The weird, strange narrative of Rachel Dolezal

Posted in Audio, Interviews, Law, Media Archive, Passing, United States on 2015-07-10 17:56Z by Steven

The weird, strange narrative of Rachel Dolezal

The Remix
WHYY-FM Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

James Peterson, Host

What determines your race? Is it about genetics or cultural identification? The curious case of Rachel Dolezal, a white woman who has been passing for black, has been met with surprise, outrage and confusion. Dolezal, former president of the Spokane NAACP, says she has self-identified as black from an early age, even though she was born to and raised by two white parents. Her comments have launched another contentious debate about the definition of race and racial identity in America. Joining us to talk about it all are Donald Tibbs and James Peterson. Tibbs teaches Law at Drexel University. Peterson is Director of Africana Studies at Lehigh University and host of WHYY’s podcast “The Remix.”

Listen to the interview (00:13:44) here.

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The Remix: Dr. Yaba Blay on Colorism, Kendrick Lamar & Trevor Noah

Posted in Audio on 2015-04-10 19:01Z by Steven

The Remix: Dr. Yaba Blay on Colorism, Kendrick Lamar & Trevor Noah

The Remix with Dr. James Peterson
WHYY 90.9 FM
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

James Braxton Peterson, Host and Associate professor of English
Lehigh University, Lehigh, Pennsylvania

Comedy Central has named South African comedian Trevor Noah to helm “The Daily Show” when John Stewart departs later this year. It took slightly less than 24 hours for Noah to come under attack for remarks he made on Twitter that some perceived as anti-semitic and misogynistic. We can’t predict how Noah will weather the controversy, but Dr. James Peterson says he’s not surprised, because comics seem to consistently run into trouble for offensive remarks on Twitter.

“The Remix” is more interested in the fact that Comedy Central has appointed two men of color to lead their two most popular time slots (Larry Wilmore’sThe Nightly Show” replaced “The Colbert Report“) and the ways that might affect the nation’s daily consumption of news and news satire.

Peterson welcomes scholar, teacher and activist Dr. Yaba Blay to “The Remix” to discuss colorism, segregation within the African-American community, and cultural expressions of whiteness. The two also take a look at Blay’s book, “(1)ne Drop: Shifting the Lens on Race,” and her initiation into the Yoruba religion.

After a brief hiatus, “Props” is back, and this time, Kendrick Lamar gets some praise for taking risks on his new album “To Pimp a Butterfly.”

Listen to the episode here.

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Michael Brown and the deadly effects of colorism

Posted in Articles, Law, Media Archive, Social Science, United States on 2014-11-29 00:37Z by Steven

Michael Brown and the deadly effects of colorism

Newsworks: WHYY News
The Philadelphia Experiment
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Solomon Jones

The outcry triggered by the killings of unarmed men by police officers — from Michael Brown’s shooting death in Ferguson, Mo., to the choking death of Eric Garner in Staten Island, NY — has largely focused on the victims’ skin color.

But little has been said about the fact that the men killed by police are not just African American. They are often dark skinned. That deep, ebony complexion, and all that it symbolizes, is significant, said Dr. Yaba Blay, co-director and assistant teaching professor of Africana Studies at Drexel University.

For dark-skinned black men, Blay said, “The unquestionable state of their blackness invokes fear in others. We haven’t seen racially ambiguous men gunned down by police.”

Complex prejudice

Such violence is just one consequence of what academics call colorism — the prejudging of others based on complexion…

Read the entire article here.

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Dr. Yaba Blay on shifting the lens on race

Posted in Audio, Identity Development/Psychology, Interviews, Media Archive, Social Science, United States on 2013-10-30 23:29Z by Steven

Dr. Yaba Blay on shifting the lens on race

Radio Times with Marty Moss-Coane
WHYY 90.9 FM
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Who is black? And who is not? “Mixed/Jamerian,” “Black/Latina,” “Appalachian African American” are examples of how some people of color describe themselves. Drexel University Africana Studies professor Dr. Yaba Blay explores the nuances of the politics of racial identity and hair and skin color. Her work sheds light on the legacy of the outdated “one-drop” law – that if a person had a drop of black blood, they would be forever identified as black. Through interviews and research, she shows the diversity of the many ways bi-racial and multi-racial people self-identify. Her new portrait essay book is “(1)ne Drop: Shifting the Lens on Race.”

Download the episode here.

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‘Master’ Jefferson: Defender Of Liberty, Then Slavery

Posted in Articles, Audio, Book/Video Reviews, History, Media Archive, Slavery, United States, Virginia on 2012-10-20 16:49Z by Steven

‘Master’ Jefferson: Defender Of Liberty, Then Slavery

Fresh Air from WHYY
National Public Radio

Maureen Corrigan, Book Critic

His public words have inspired millions, but for scholars, his private words and deeds generate confusion, discomfort, apologetic excuses. When the young Thomas Jefferson wrote, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal,” there’s compelling evidence to indicate that he indeed meant all men, not just white guys.

But by the 1780s, Jefferson’s views on slavery in America had mysteriously shifted. He formulated racial theories asserting, for instance, that African women had mated with apes; Jefferson financed the construction of Monticello by using the slaves he owned — some 600 during his lifetime — as collateral for a loan he took out from a Dutch banking house; and when he engineered the Louisiana Purchase in 1803, Jefferson pushed for slavery in that territory. By 1810, Jefferson had his eye fixed firmly on the bottom line, disparaging a relative’s plan to sell his slaves by saying, “It [would] never do to destroy the goose.”

Faced with these conflicting visions of Jefferson, scholars usually fall back on words like “paradox” and “irony”; but historian Henry Wiencek says words like that allow “a comforting state of moral suspended animation.” His tough new book, Master of the Mountain, judges Jefferson’s racial views by the standards of his own time and finds him wanting. Unlike, say, George Washington, who freed his slaves in his will, Jefferson, Wiencek says, increasingly “rationalized an abomination.”…

…Wiencek also evocatively describes Jefferson’s morning routine — how he would walk back and forth on his terrace every day at first light and look down on a small empire of slaves — among them, brewers, French-trained cooks, carpenters, textile workers and field hands. Many of those slaves were related to each other; some were related — by marriage and blood — to Jefferson himself. Jefferson’s wife had six half-siblings who were enslaved at Monticello. To add to the Gothic weirdness, Jefferson’s own grandson, Jeff Randolph, recalled a number of mixed-race slaves at Monticello who looked astonishingly like his grandfather, one man “so close, that at some distance or in the dusk the slave, dressed in the same way, might be mistaken for Mr. Jefferson.” According to this grandson, Sally Hemings was only one of the women who gave birth to these Jeffersonian doubles.

Wiencek’s scholarship infers that the potent combination of the profits and sexual access generated by slavery made the institution more palatable to Jefferson. As the years went by, Jefferson was called to account by his aging revolutionary comrades — among them the Marquis de Lafayette, Thomas Paine and Thaddeus Kościuszko. All of them pressed Jefferson on the question of why this eloquent defender of liberty would himself be a slave owner. Kościuszko even drew up a will in which he left Jefferson money to buy his slaves’ freedom and educate them, so that, as he wrote, “each should know … the duty of a cytysen in the free Government.”…

Read the entire review here. Listen to it here (00:06:44). Download it here.

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