The picture is super-cute. It’s totally o.k. One could come up with adorable captions. However, half of the “cleverly cavalier commenters” offered up offensive ones. It almost pains me to say that I assume (which we all know is a stupid thing to do… ass-u-me) that these smart a**es are privileged white kids tooling around on their macbook pros feeling quite awesome and funny while totally oblivious to… well, i don’t know exactly what… to everything?
Archive for the ‘photos’ Category
Posted in equality, hair, history, photos, race, tagged american anthropological association, biology, boston, chris bergeron, genetics, milford daily news, mulatto, museum of science-boston, race, science museum of minnesota on March 29, 2011 | 1 Comment »
now this is the kind of exhibit i’d pay to see! i would like to take this time to say “told ya so.” not that anyone’s really argued against this point with me. i’m just sayin’… it doesn’t exist… and yet it dictates life chances and prevents us from being open to what exists and really matters in ourselves and each other.
By Chris Bergeron/DAILY NEWS STAFF
BOSTON —An African, an Asian and a North American viewing the new exhibit “Race” at the Museum of Science might be surprised to discover they have more in common than individuals of any other species on Earth.
They would learn their variously colored complexions derive from how their skin processes folate and vitamin D. The African would find he’s susceptible to sickle cell anemia, not because of his race but because of the prevalence of malaria in his homeland.
And all three might be troubled to learn world-famous psychologist Arthur Jensen has written that differences in their intelligence can be attributed to their racial origins.
By the exhibit’s end, each might answer the question in its subtitle, “Are We So Different?” by saying, “No, not based on our genes.”
Combining scientific, anthropological and historical evidence, the exhibit argues the fundamental concept of race and racial differences has no biological basis but is a man-made distinction with immeasurable social consequences over the centuries.
Developed by the American Anthropological Association and Science Museum of Minnesota, “Race” invites visitors to examine race and racism through exhibits, interactive stations and artifacts.
Museum President and Director Ioannis Miaoulis said it’s the first exhibit to examine race and human variations using the most up-to-date genetic discoveries.
“This exhibit can be inspiring, revealing and even life-changing,” he said opening the show last Thursday.
Chioma Nnaji, research coordinator of the UMass Horizon Center in Boston, praised the exhibit for explaining how a broad misunderstanding of race “complicated” relations between people by emphasizing superficial differences over shared interests.
Citing cutting-edge genetic research, the exhibit states, “Race is a recent human invention.”
Nina Catubig Nolan, chairwoman of the museum’s Race education team, said, “The idea of race doesn’t have a basis in biology. Humans from around the world share 99.5 percent of their genes. That’s more than chimpanzees or fruit flies,” she said.
Flawed science results in social injustice.
The failure to recognize our common genetic heritage is demonstrated by a photo that shows how the U.S. Census labeled people based on mistaken ideas of pigmentation and appearance.
From 1850 to 2000, a mixed-race woman would have been variously described as “mulatto,” “Negro” or, recently, “White and African American.” From 1930 to 1990, a woman from Tijuana who moved to Texas would have been labeled “Mexican,” “white” and “Hispanic white.” Over the course of the 20th century, Inuit women have been called “Indians,” “Eskimos” and in 2000 “Alaska natives.”
Wall text by that photo states: “The idea of race is tied to power and hierarchy among people. The legacy of race continues to shape the lives and relationships of people in the U.S. and around the world.”
Paul Fontaine, vice-president of education at the Museum of Science, said “Race” provides “a perfect opportunity to look at a sociological issue through a scientific lens.”
Museum official sought to open the exhibit just before Martin Luther King Jr. Day and over the following months to encourage discussion about a timely issue and provide an opportunity to present related events and activities, he said.
“When we first saw ‘Race,’ we loved the way it was presented. It was powerful and emotional and based on current genetic research. From this exhibit, visitors will learn race is an artificial construct. Yet it has been the basis for categorizing people and all the negative reactions that have followed from that,” said Fontaine.
“Race” includes fascinating, even a few disturbing, artifacts.
A “hair color table” that measured the spectrum of hair color from Aryan blonde to less desirable shades was used by Nazis to provide a scientific basis for the practice of “racial hygiene” that legitimized the deaths of millions of “non-Aryan” Jews, gypsies and Slavs.
Closer to home, visitors can see a placard for a “Colored Waiting Room” and a sign announcing “We want white tenants for our white community.”
And debunking a television crime show staple, the exhibit uses photos and expert testimony to show forensic pathologists can not definitively determine a victim’s race from their bones and teeth with the regularity or ease of investigators on “CSI Miami.”
Unlike many Museum of Science exhibits, “Race” devotes more than half its gallery space to establishing a historical and social context for its premise that humans have misused the idea as a tool to discriminate rather than seek common ground.
The most effective parts of the exhibit help visitors understand the genetic science that provides the exhibit’s foundation. By twisting a dial, visitors can direct human migration from 100,000 B.C. to 40,000 B.C. across a world map.
At the exhibit’s opening, musician and sound artist Halsey Burgund previewed a segment of his audio installation, “Voices Without Faces, Voices Without Race,” which consists of snippets of conversation from more than 250 people discussing race.
Commissioned by the museum, he recorded people along Rte. 128 responding to three questions: When did you first become aware of race? When were you first privileged by or discriminated against because of race? And, What is your experience of race in Boston? The audio installation will open Feb. 3.
Khaalie Parham, a 15-year-old sophomore at Community Charter School in Cambridge, said people react differently to him depending on whether he’s in his predominantly white hometown of Belmont or among his peers.
“Race has a huge significance in my life. If I’m in Belmont, people look at me differently or cross to the other side of the street than I’m walking on,” he said. “In my school, race isn’t much of a factor. But if people look past differences and what other people say and follow their own mind, then race stops dividing people.“
WHAT: “Race: Are We So Different?”
WHERE: Museum of Science, Science Park, Boston
WHEN: Through May 15
ADMISSION: $21 for adults, $19 for seniors (60+) and $18 for children (3-11)
INFO: 617-723-2500, TTY 617-589-0417, www.mos.org.
Visit the American Anthropological Association’s Race Project at www.understandingrace.org
Posted in biracial, race, photos, history, equality, civil rights, tagged new york times, mixed race, mulatto, history, topsy, quadroon, octoroon, slavery, abolition, uncle tom's cabin, daguerreotypes, joan p gage, vintage photographs, charles sumner, mary mildred botts, ida may, mary niall mitchell, george thomson, harriet beecher stowe on March 28, 2011 | 1 Comment »
in my search for vintage images of mulatto folks i recently stumbled upon a gem!! Joan P. Gage is a journalist and a collector of photographs. on her blog A Rolling Crone she shares one of her collectibles and the fascinating (and still unfolding) story behind it. i feel all kinds of ways about this piece of our history (and by “our” i do mean mulatto, i do mean american, i do mean human seeing as everything is everything and all.) anyway, i feel sad for the little girl. i feel pride for the little girl. i feel a sense of satisfaction that i can point to this child and to the efforts charles sumner as evidence that, even way back when, a white man and a white-looking black child attempted to change people’s minds (way back)when it would have been much easier (not to mention safer!) to relish in the societal refuge that their phenotype offered. i am not implying that the attempt was perfect, nor that there is nothing offensive or off-color about the sentiment behind the message. but, if you consider the general consensus of the times on this matter, i think it safe to view sumner’s cause as a benevolent one. i wonder how little mary felt. i wonder if she understood. i wonder what her parents looked like. and her siblings. i assume there’s a reason that they were not photographed or ‘exhibited’ together. and i wonder how they felt about that, about all of it. and what became of all of them…
From “Raising Freedom’s Child—Black Children and Visions of the Future after Slavery,” written by a University of New Orleans professor, Mary Niall Mitchell:
From joanpgage, the blogger (and current owner of the daguerrotype) from which I am re-blogging this piece:
…Prof. Mitchell is currently working on a book about Mary Botts that will tell more about this former slave’s life, including the drama of how Sumner purchased her and spirited her out of Virginia, how he introduced her to the media and society as a living advocate for the abolitionist cause, and how her family settled in the free black community in Boston.
i’ve no idea where i found this. it’s been waiting to be posted since last july…
in light of the current posting trend over here, i found the last line to be somewhat relevant…”document(s) white recognition of beauty and attraction in their slaves.” not quite so “flattering” as the modern recognition.
so, while i was “away” one of the big community newsflashes was that mixed-race is the new standard of beauty. um…ok, cool…i guess…or, whatever!…i’m not really sure where i stand on this one, because, just like race, a standard of beauty really has no basis in reality. that’s merely an opinion. however, the fact 64% of the people polled in the Allure magazine survey that delivered us this “good” news are of the opinion that they generally find mixed-race women to be the epitome of beauty, leads me to ponder a couple of things:
1. we’re not so invisible anymore. they didn’t choose light-skinned black people with “good hair,” or asians who may also be perceived as a little hispanic too as the exemplification of beauty. they chose mixed-race. it was on list. that’s progress, no?
2. i firmly believe that there is no such thing as race, not in terms of the universal reality which i perceive to be very different from the mainstream worldly reality. yet within the confines of the discussion of the topic at hand (funny (and frustrating) how this ‘non-existent’ thing is so confining) i would say that we are all mixed race. so who amongst us is not full of beauty?
3. i also think about all the previous generations of mixed people who may have felt invisible and/or less than and/or all that jazz… i think about me… i wish i could have told this girl that if she could just wait 10-20 years or so, some of the things she felt uncomfortable with and perhaps even unloveable because of would come to be perceived as beautiful… so she should just rest assured in herself and wait for the world to catch up…
wow! these pictures make me so uncomfortable. just like i was back then.
now…not that i’m all caught up in thinking of myself as some biracial beauty…but…i gotta say…progress, no?
if i had to identify something beautiful about this picture, i would say it’s that i seem unapologetically present and, dare i say, confident even. i’d like to see phrases like that enter the equation when calculating the standard of beauty… confident, present, compassionate, passionate, gracious, generous… how ’bout those undisputably beautiful things?
…love watermelon that much!
Not like this:
But like this:
*Quarter Plate Daguerreotype of Two White Children & Their Mulatto Servants*
Cased Ninth Plate Daguerreotype of a Mulatto, fine half-length portrait of a 20-something young, mixed race gentleman, Negroid and Caucasian, in typical merchant sailors outfit of the period.
The Daguerreotype was the first successful photographic process, the discovery being announced on 7 January 1839. The process consisted of
- exposing copper plates to iodine, the fumes forming light-sensitive silver iodide. The plate would have to be used within an hour.
- exposing to light – between 10 and 20 minutes, depending upon the light available.
- developing the plate over mercury heated to 75 degrees Centigrade. This caused the mercury to amalgamate with the silver.
- fixing the image in a warm solution of common salt (later sodium sulphite was used.)
- rinsing the plate in hot distilled water.
I absolutely love these! I fully intend to collect them one day when I can afford it. There seems to me to be so much more to a daguerreotype than a photograph. They seem haunted to me. Like the image and the moment was so thoroughly captured that I’m really looking at something/someone frozen in time. Haunted.
On another note, I get some sort of satisfaction from looking at these and reading the descriptions. Proof that “we” exist and were once recognized.
*or brothers….(re: white children & their mulatto servants above)*
Posted in civil rights, equality, history, photos, race, tagged interracial couples, mixed race, non-traditional casting, romeo and juliet, shakespeare, william shakespeare on July 19, 2010 | Leave a Comment »
Perhaps “startling” would be a bit of an exaggeration today, but a production like this would still be considered mildly innovative indicating that we haven’t evolved much out of our old traditions…
March 1970: Student teachers, Dereck Tapper and Scilla Nicholls in a rehearsal for a production of ‘Romeo and Juliet’ at St Luke’s Teacher Training College in Exeter. The mixed-race casting was considered a startling innovation at the time. (Photo by Keystone/Getty Images)