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The College of Ethnic Studies San Francisco State University


Volume 5 May 2013

Student Editorial Board Christopher Roberts, Journal Coordinator & Cover Design Diane Nguyen, Cover Design Giselle Cunanan, Layout and Design Kim Nguyen, Journal Coordinator Marimas Hosan, Layout and Design Sureshi Jayawarden Faculty Editor Robert Keith Collins, Ph.D. American Indian Studies Assistant Professor Faculty Advisors Laureen Chew, Ed.D College of Ethnic Studies MA Program Coordinator Amy Sueyoshi, Ph.D. College of Ethnic Studies Associate Dean Printing Copyworld, Inc. 2001 3rd St San Francisco, CA 94107

We would like to thank the Instructionally-related Activities Fund and the College and Department of Ethnic Studies at San Francisco State University for their generous financial support for this journal.

TABLE OF CONTENTS Introduction 6 Roots and Resistance Native American Representation 10 AndrĂŠs Rodriguez Race, Socioeconomic Status, and class 25 Kim Nguyen Haiti Quake: My Story 29 Guilaine Salomon Male Honor and Female Shame - When Patriarchy Dictates Morality 50 Tulay Furrow Familia 1992 56 Yolanda Rodriguez Nurturing Fears & Self-racialization: Our Bodies in the Context of Contemporary Genetics and Race 59 Diane Nguyen Identity and the State: Chinese and Japanese Racialization In America 6 Giselle Dejamco Cunanan

Creative Cultural Transformations Embracing the Serpent: Towards a New Xicana Spirituality 71 Yolanda Rodriguez Mamatiak...I Believe (Personal Anthem) 78 Steve Ryan Badua Collaborative Mediums 79 Rafael Moreno and Natalia Sanchez Gonzalez Birth and Bumper Cars 81 Christopher Roberts

Minority Within Minority: Being Unheard From Within Race and Ethnic Recognition: The Complexity of Latino Identities 94 Marimas Hosan Breaking the Binary: How Jero and Mal Hall Challenge the One-Drop Rule 107 Morgan Melendres Mentz Positive and Negative Impacts of an Asian American Panethnicity 121 Marimas Hosan Triple Oppressions 131 Tulay Furrow African Identities in India and Sri Lanka 159 Sureshi Jayawarden

Introduction A Message from Faculty and Staff I am delighted, grateful and impressed with the publication of this Ethnic Studies Journal. The Graduates Students from the 2011 and 2012 cohorts wanted this journal to happen and have made it a reality. Several cohorts in recent years have expressed such a desire, but were unable to accomplish it. Previous cohorts have also expected faculty to provide the leadership and guidance to make it happen. This time around, these two groups of Graduate students have done what the College of Ethnic Studies value... students taking the leadership to collaborate, meet, write, create, discuss, and negotiate...all that is needed to publish an Ethnic Studies Journal. The last Ethnic Studies Journal was published in 2005! The time and effort you put into this is beyond admirable. Thank you Cohorts 2011 and 2012 for all your hard work and inspiration to future Graduate students.


A Message from the Graduate Student Editorial Board It is important to voice the stories and scholarly works of people of color, rather than having these stories told by others. This journal is an attempt to voice the stories and scholarly works of our own students of color. We must keep Ethnic Studies alive, as the study of Americans is not limited to mainstream white culture. This journal provides a platform for Ethnic Studies graduate students to explore and discuss their works in progress. It is a forum where young Ethnic Studies scholars are able to sharpen their critical thinking and writing skills engaging real and important issues and topics about our communities that have yet to be theorized. We compiled an array of submitted pieces to complicate, contest, and create identities that are representative of this moment in time. We situate our personal experiences amidst the larger discourse in coming to know who we are as a racialized people‌ in pursuit of the mission of Ethnic Studies. The diversity of this compilation celebrates the critically intellectual and spiritual knowledges that are deep within the interstitial spaces of our contemporary moment. It is also a proud fist-in-the-air that expresses an immeasurable appreciation for SFSU’s Ethnic studies department and the endurance of a relevant education. This book is an inferno. A coalition of scholarly embers coalescing into a ravenous firestorm, searing the margins of mainstream academia. Benefactors of the trailblazers of the Ethnic Studies Strike in the 1960s, we are picking up the torch, and burning a new path. It has been about seven years since the last Ethnic Studies Student Journal was published. The revitalization of this year’s journal is a step forward towards its continuation. Thank you to the first and second year cohorts, Ethnic Studies professors, and staff for your support and making this happen!



Graduate Student Journal



College of Ethnic Studies

Native American Representation in Professional and College Sports AndrĂŠs Rodriguez

Introduction The popularity of sports in the United States is growing so much that it has become the identity of the country. Sports such as basketball, football, hockey, and baseball earn countless amounts of money through fans attending games, television and advertisement, and team apparel. The use of mascots, logos, and nicknames are important aspects to sports teams and their popularity because they not only evoke an allegiance to a particular athletic team but are also are used as a source of team pride (Connolly, 2000). A controversial topic within the realm of sports is the use of Native American imagery as mascots, logos, and nicknames. Supporters do not see an issue in using Native American imagery, while opponents see these images as offensive towards the Native American community. This essay will look into how college and professional sports teams use Native Americans as mascots, logos, and nicknames. While the use of Native American mascots, logos, and nicknames in college and professional sports have been used to signify team pride, spirit, and tradition, it comes with the cost of ridiculing and perpetuating racial


Graduate Student Journal stereotypes of the Native American community. This research will focus on examining the history of Native mascots, logos, and nicknames in professional and college sports, specifically looking at the Washington Redskins of the National Football League (NFL), the Cleveland Indians of Major League Baseball (MLB), the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Fighting Illini, and the Miami University of Ohio RedHawks (formally known as the Redskins). It is important to see where these particular images and names originated in order to understand why the topic of Native Americans as mascots, logos, and nicknames is controversial. This essay will also look at movements and lawsuits towards the successful and unsuccessful removal of these Native American mascots, logos, and nicknames in the professional and college ranks. Finally, the role of these mascots, logos, and nicknames will be discussed in relation to the topic of cultural authenticity and appropriation in the Native American community. These examinations will go beyond sports and look at how other popular media outlets contribute to these constructs of Native American identity and culture. The examination of Native mascots, logos, and nicknames contribute to how larger American society view and treat the Native American community due to the power of images and words influencing thoughts and opinions. Background of the use of Native Mascots, Images, and Nicknames in College and Professional Sports Origin of Native American Nicknames The first known use of Native American nicknames in sports was in the Carlisle Indian school, an off-reservation U.S. government boarding school for American Indian students located in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, in 1894 (Adams, 1995; Pewewardy, 2004). The boarding school played organized football and performed well enough to be praised by mainstream sports journalists and opposing coaches, leading them to nickname the members of the school’s football team the Carlisle “Indians” (Pewewardy, 2004). The Native youth attending the boarding


College of Ethnic Studies school had no say whether to accept or decline the “Indians” nickname. It is ironic that an Indian boarding school was the site of the first use of Native American nicknames. One of the main goals of governmentsponsored boarding schools was to assimilate Native youth into white, dominant U.S. culture, wiping away the youth’s Native culture and tradition in the process (Adams, 1995). For national media and opposing coaches to nickname the football team the “Indians” shows a sign of control; it suggests that the youth in these boarding schools are allowed to be “Indians” only when others say it is acceptable, and only if they abide to dominant society’s constructs of what it means to be “Indian.” This is a big example of how “groups outside the American Indian community imposed most Indian mascots, logos, and nicknames on athletic teams” (Pewewardy, 2004, p. 181). Those who insist on keeping these Native mascots, nicknames, and logos are not Natives Americans themselves and base their support for the sake of “tradition.” Use of Native American Mascots, Logos, and Nicknames in Professional Sports Two popular professional teams that are currently using Native Americans as mascots, logos, and nicknames are the Cleveland Indians of MLB and the Washington Redskins of the NFL. The Cleveland Indians franchise has a history of name changes since its beginning as the Cleveland Forest Citys in 1869 (Nicholson, 2004). After short stints with nicknames such as the Spiders, the Broncos, and the Naps, a Cleveland newspaper decided to hold a contest to rename the baseball team in 1915 (Schneider, 2001; Nicholson, 2004). The winning nickname was “Indians” in honor of the first American Indian to play major league baseball, Louis Sockalexis (Nicholson, 2004). Supporters of Native mascots, logos, and nicknames insisted that it was as an honor to be named after something, yet the name itself was a reference to Sockalexis’ racial background and not his actual name. While the “Indians” nickname was implemented to honor a past player, it is the team logo that has led to much backlash and controversy. Chief Wahoo is the logo that is placed on in-game uniforms


Graduate Student Journal and baseball caps of the Cleveland Indians. The logo is a caricature of a Native American man with a wide “toothy grin, hooked nose, fireengine-red complexion,” and wearing a single red feather (Briggs, 2008). The logo has been compared to Little Black Sambo, a late 1800’s and early 1900’s children’s book character that has been used as a racist caricature to racially stereotype African Americans (Liscio, 2011). While the Cleveland Indians franchise has removed the logo from some areas of their ballpark and training facilities, Chief Wahoo is still considered the official logo of the baseball team (Liscio, 2011; Briggs, 2008). What began as honoring a former player has turned into the use of images that have racial and stereotypical connotations. The Washington Redskins of the NFL originated as Boston Braves before changing their nickname to “Redskins” in honor of head coach William “Lone Star” Dietz, who was American Indian (Nicholson, 2004). The team kept the “Redskins” nickname after moving to Washington in 1937 (Nicholson, 2004). The “Redskins” nickname is arguably the most controversial Native American nickname due to its extreme offensiveness and meaning. According to Associate Chief Justice Durham, the term “Redskin” is historically rooted in violence towards the Native American community: The facts, ignored by the majority, are that in 1755, the British crown offered a bounty for the scalps of Native American men, women, and children living in the New England colonies. To demonstrate that there had been a kill, soldiers were required to skin the body of the Native American and bring in the “red skin” (Nicholson, 2004, p. 343). “Redskin…[is a] horrifying reminder of what amounted to genocide of many of the Native American people” (Nicholson, 2004). The general public’s failure to recognize the significance of the term “redskin” normalizes the derogatory and obscene use of this word and words similar to it. “Redskins” has become such a controversial word that it has been at the center of court cases to deem the term offensive and derogatory. The first case was not necessarily directed towards the Washington Redskins football franchise, but had large implications in


College of Ethnic Studies future cases against the word. McBride v. Motor Vehicle Division of Utah State Tax Commission involved two American Indian petitioners challenging the use of “Redskins” on three Utah Resident license plates (Nicholson, 2004). The petitioners claimed the license plates, which read “REDSKIN, REDSKNS,” and “RDSKIN,” violated a section of the Utah code, “Which states that the [Motor Vehicle] Division may not issue personal license plates containing a ‘combination of letters, words, or numbers with any connotation that is vulgar, derogatory, profane, or obscene’” (Nicolson, 2004, p. 343). In the end, the Utah Supreme Court ruled that the term “redskin” was in fact an offensive term, forbidding its use on state license plates (Nicholson, 2004). This was an important decision because this ruling was used in an effort to remove the name from the Washington Redskins football team in a battle that began almost seven years before this case. Beginning in 1992, Pro-Football, Inc. v. Harjo was a lawsuit filed by seven Native Americans against the Washington Redskins in an effort to remove the team nickname. The lawsuit was petitioned to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, asking for the cancellation of federal recognition for the terms Redskins and Redskinettes, the name of the cheerleading squad for the football team (Emert, 2003). As previously stated, “Redskin” has a history attached to violence towards Native Americans and even the New Oxford American Dictionary describes it as a dated and offensive word (“Redskin,” 2012; Emert, 2003). Washington Redskins officials stood by the use of the name by arguing it is not a slur and comparable to the use of the word “colored” in the name of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), who’s mission is to “ensure the political, educational, social, and economic equality of rights of all persons and to eliminate race-based discrimination” (Moreno, 1998; “Our Mission,” 2013). It is interesting that officials reference the word “colored” as support because this word can also be seen as outdated and offensive. After seven years of litigation, the three-judge panel of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office ruled that the term “redskin” was disparaging to Native Americans, “Ordering the cancellation of federal registration of ‘Washington Redskins’”


Graduate Student Journal (Delacruz, 2003, p.16). This was a huge victory in the battle to remove Native American mascots, logos, and nicknames from sports. However, the Washington Redskins appealed the decision to the United States District Court of the District of Columbia and won the appeal because the decision that “redskins” was disparaging to Native Americans “[was] not supported by substantial evidence” (Nicholson, 2004, p. 349). Although the usage of Native American nicknames or symbols was not deemed as disparaging by the courts, the usage of Native mascots, logos, and nicknames play an enormous role in constructing Native identity. Use of Native American Mascots, Logos, and Nicknames in College Athletics Over 60 colleges and universities use Native American mascots, logos and nicknames (Connolly, 2000). Not only do these images represent the college athletics department, but they also represent the entire campus. The two universities discussed in this section are examples of collegiate institutions that, after much backlash, decided to change their school’s respective nicknames and logos. The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Fighting Illini is the largest university that uses a Native American nickname and mascot while Miami University was once known as the Redskins (Connolly, 2000). These two universities tell different stories, compared to the professional ranks, in the issue of Native American mascots, logos, and nicknames. The nickname “Illini” by the University of Illinois was first used in 1974 when the student newspaper changed its name to the Illini (Connolly, 2000). The name is a reference to the Illinois tribes, a confederation of Algonquin-speaking tribes that included the Cahokia, Kaskaskia, Michigamea, Peoria, and Tamaroa (Connolly, 2000). The controversy does not lie in the usage of Illini but in the appearance of the university’s mascot, Chief Illiniwek. Chief Illiniwek was the creation of an Illinois student who appeared at a homecoming football game in a homemade Indian costume. The student dressed as Chief Illiniwek met another student dressed as a Quaker and performed what is now known as the dance of Chief Illiniwek, an interpretation of a Fancy Dance


College of Ethnic Studies (Connolly, 2000). The moment was so well received that the student dressed in the Indian costume was asked to perform the dance during halftime at football games (Connolly, 2000). Once Chief Illiniwek became the official sports mascot of the university, the student who became the Chief sought to make the mascot “official” by consulting with “an old Indian woman” at the Pine Ridge reservations in South Dakota and made an “authentic” Native American costume (Connolly, 2000). One of the major reasons as to why the University of Illinois refused to change their mascot and nickname was based on the idea that a Native American approved and assisted with the costume. Therefore, the university could not be accused of any wrongdoing in this controversial matter. However, the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) deemed Chief Illiniwek “to be an offensive use of American Indian imagery” in 2005 (“Fighting Illini Say Goodbye to the Chief,” 2011). The mascot was permanently removed after the 2011 men’s basketball season (“Fighting Illini Say Goodbye to the Chief,” 2011). It was speculated that the university finally changed its mascot because they were unable to host postseason NCAA championship events, events that could potentially accrue a large sum of money (“Fighting Illini Say Goodbye to the Chief,” 2011). Although the mascot has been removed, the Fighting Illini nickname is still intact. Miami University was named in honor of the Miami Tribe, also an Algonquin-speaking tribe that lived around the Great Lakes, primarily in Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois (Connolly, 2000). The university went through a variety of nicknames – “the Miami Boys,” “the Big Reds,” “the Reds,” and “the Red and Whites” before settling with “Redskins” based on its ability to “exterminate or at least tam[e]” their rival schools mascots of the Bearcats, Wildcats, Bobcats, Musketeers (Connolly, 2000; “Big Reds is Short for ‘Tribe Miami,’” 1930). Miami University had their mascot, Hiawabop, dress up in a war bonnet, paint their face, and wield a tomahawk during games (“A Chronology,” 1993). A big part of college and university athletics is the mascot, so in the case of Miami University and the University of Illinois, no school nickname is complete


Graduate Student Journal without a mascot “looking the part,” especially one who’s purpose is to “exterminate” their rivals, further perpetuating the stereotype that Native Americans are “savages” and “uncivilized” peoples (Connolly, 2000). Once the “Redskins” nickname was established, thus began decades of backlash for its use. After an increase in Indian activism in the late 1960’s, a formal relationship was established between the university and the Miami Tribe of Oklahoma (Connolly, 2000). When a task force was formed to examine the offensiveness of the “redskins” nickname, the review committee voted to keep the nickname, claiming that it is honoring the Miami Tribe by representing “courage, self-discipline, respect, kindness, honesty, and love” (Connolly, 2000; “Miami Tribe of Oklahoma,” 1972). Similar to the University of Illinois, the support of a Native American tribe legitimized the use of an offensive nickname by Miami University. However, one tribe’s opinion is not representative of the entire Native community. It was not until 1995 when the use of Native American-related nicknames received national attention after the MLB World Series had two teams with Native American nicknames, the Cleveland Indians and the Atlanta Braves (Connolly, 2000). The national attention led to Ohio legislature to promote a bill that would force professional and college teams to drop Native American nicknames (Connolly, 2000). In an effort to avoid completely wiping out the “Redskins” nickname, Miami University trustees decided to change the school nickname to RedHawks in 1997 (Connolly, 2000). It took decades of activism from Indian organization as well as the topic of Native mascots to reach national attention before Miami University decided to make a change to their school nickname. Professional/College & University Approach to Native Mascot, Logo, and Nickname Issue The stories of University of Illinois and Miami University’s changing of their school mascots brings up an interesting issue – Why have colleges and universities changed their Native mascots, logos, and nicknames more often than professional teams? Examining this question requires us to look at who these separate institutions report to and their


College of Ethnic Studies goals and objectives in their respective fields. Colleges and universities are supposed to be a space where not only tolerance is accepted, but where critical thinking and engagement is encouraged. Much of the backlash from the use of these Native American mascots, logos, and nicknames has come from students, with assistance from Native organizations. There are many examples of students being the driving force of educational reform. For example, the East Los Angeles blowouts were organized by high school students in an effort to gain a more equitable education (Olmos, 2006). The Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) was one of the main organizations to emerge from the American Civil Rights Movements (“Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC),� 2009). There have also been examples of school districts, in collaboration with parent and educational advocacy groups, eliminating Indian mascots, logos, and nicknames from their schools. Districts in Dallas and Los Angeles have completely removed Native images in their schools, while districts in Wisconsin and Minnesota have recommended that schools who receive public funding remove the use of Native American mascots, logos, and nicknames because they were deemed offensive to the Native community (Pewewardy, 2004). These are just some examples of how the voice of students and the surrounding community made changes surrounding the issue of Native mascots, logos, and nicknames in colleges and universities. Professional sports franchises do not necessarily have to respond to demands of the general public. Unless laws are put into place, forcing professional teams to change their mascots, logos, and nicknames, the decision rests on the owners of the team. Owners of teams like the Washington Redskins and Cleveland Indians insist that they are using the mascots, logos, and nicknames as a way to honor the Native community. Jack Kent Cooke, former owner of the Washington Redskins, once said that the Redskins nickname has gained such popularity that it has also developed a second meaning by associating with the football team rather than with Native Americans (Nicholson, 2004). Cooke does not realize that by stating that the Redskins have gained a whole new meaning he is


Graduate Student Journal also disregarding the word as offensive and provoking images of violence against the Native community. His comments are also a reflection of how “redskins� and the name’s offensiveness are normalized in the larger society. Having an immediate response and refusal to make changes shows how much power and arrogance these professional team owners have in the decision making process of their respective teams. Money is also an important factor when it comes to professional teams changing mascots, logos, and nicknames. There is a financial impact when it comes to changing mascots, logos, and nicknames for any team. Supporters of Native mascots, logos, and nicknames state that the financial costs of changing the images outweigh the benefits (Emert, 2003). The sale of team merchandise generates millions of dollars a year and if teams and ownership are required to change their mascots, logos, and nicknames, it can be a financial loss for the merchandise that was not sold (Emert, 2003). The bottom line is that team finances are seen as a priority over accurate portrayals of a large group of peoples. Thus, teams are allowed to profit from these images, which, in turn, supports the appropriation and commodification of these Native Americans through mascots, logos, and nicknames. There is a connection between the selling of these images for capitalistic means and land expropriation. These sports franchises and colleges that support the use of these images are thinking about this issue in a capitalistic way and not as an issue that involves peoples and violation of human rights. Similar to land expropriation, the United States government were only concerned with the development of the country and its future capitalistic gains instead of how it affected large groups of peoples. When money is involved, the elite will do whatever it takes to preserve their capital, especially in the case of the Washington Redskins, who are worth an estimated $1.6 billion dollars (Shin, 2013). To continue the use and selling of these Native mascots, logos, and nicknames is to support the racial and stereotypical imagery of the Native community.


College of Ethnic Studies Use of Native American Mascots, Logos, and Nicknames in Relation to Native Identity The use of Native American mascots, logos, and nicknames play a pivotal role in the discussion of Native identity. The continuous use of Native Americans as mascots, logos, and nicknames as a source of pride and identity for fans and students hides the fact that these images can lead to psychological damage in how Native Americans construct their own identity (Pewewardy, 2004; Emert, 2003). As a larger component of U.S. popular culture, discussions of authenticity and history are swept under the rug for the sake of entertainment (Delacruz, 2003). According to Pewewardy (2003), children begin to develop racial awareness as early as three or four years old. With the growing popularity of professional and college sports, these constructs of what it means to be “Indian” are constantly put on display in front of national audiences. As Native youth grow up, it becomes a cycle where the only opportunities they get to see themselves are in these inaccurate portrayals of their peoples and communities. As Pewewardy (2003) states: Indian children who constantly see themselves being stereotyped and their cultures belittled grow into adults who feel and act inferior to other people. These racial and inauthentic behaviors mock Indian culture and cause many Indian youngsters to have low self-esteem and feel shame in their cultural identity (p. 182). An example of this feeling of low self-esteem and shame comes from Charlene Teters after taking her children to see a University of Illinois basketball game. After seeing a White male dressed up as the school mascot Chief Illiniwek in full Sioux regalia, headdress made of turkey feathers, orange and blue face paint, and doing an interpretation of a fancy dance, Teters stated, “What I saw from my children was a blow to their self-esteem” (Delacruz, 2003, p. 17). As previously stated, negative responses to these Native mascots, logos, and nicknames begin at an early age. What is important to recognize is that these feelings do not affect just children but adults as well. These mascots, logos, and nicknames


Graduate Student Journal have been around long enough for many generations to internalize these thoughts about their own community. These Native American mascots, logos, and nicknames are a part of a larger inaccurate portrayal of Native Americans in the media. Whenever Native American characters are introduced they are either portrayed as war hungry savages or the trustworthy sidekick (Connolly, 2000). These portrayals date back as far as the early Westerns such as “The Lone Ranger” and the Tonto character to more recent Disney movies like “Pocahontas.” Some of these movies are presented as family friendly movies, yet they still portray Native Americans negatively. These representations of Native people by white society are deeply embedded in our ideas of what it means to be Native. Scholars such as Joanne Barker (2011) and Thomas King (2003) share stories of being challenged of their Nativeness by non-Natives because they do not represent in their (and larger societies) view of a “real” Native American. Being asked questions like “How much Indian are you?” and comments like “You’re not the Indian I had in mind” are directly connected to how Native people are represented in media and popular culture (Barker, 2011; King, 2003). The media is a powerful tool that unfortunately makes larger society feel as if they have acquired accurate knowledge; the reality is that it is harmful information. It has even gone to the point where some Native tribes have internalized these views and also view these representations of Native people as authentic. Conclusion The use of Native Americans as mascots, logos, and nicknames are not only offensive, but are a reflection of how society views the Native community – as savage characters instead of human beings. Supporters of Native American mascots, logos, and nicknames suggest that these images foster respect and honor indigenous peoples, while opponents insist that these images denigrate Native Americans and perpetuate historical patterns of discrimination and dispossession (King, 2004). The use of these images and nicknames hold a lot of power because they have become deeply embedded in Native identity. These images


College of Ethnic Studies and nicknames are not only attached to discriminatory views of Native Americans, but they are also attached to violence towards the Native community. When Native Americans, especially Native youth, see these in sports, movies, television shows, and advertisement, they quickly internalize these ideas in their own construction of Native identity. Ironically, sports are viewed as the “great equalizer” of human relations, however, this does not hold true in cases where the use of Native American mascots, logos, and nicknames are present. This term in sports is two fold – one that respects and recognizes the differences in people because of their love of the game, and secondly, one that overlooks the cultural backgrounds of players as long as they are able to perform on the field. This is problematic because media has the power to influence large populations and the deep histories of racial segregation in sports are being ignored. Fans who cheer for their teams in pride and spirit are, in reality, contributing to the silencing of this controversial issue by ignoring and denouncing the historical backgrounds of Native mascots, logos and nicknames.

References A chronology (1993, December 16). Miami report. Adams, D.W. (1995). Education for extinction: American Indians and the boarding school experience, 1875-1928. Lawrence, KS: University of Kansas Press. Barker, J. (2011). Native acts: Laws, recognition, and cultural authenticity. Durham, NC: Duke University Press. “Big Reds” is short for “Tribe Miami” (1930, May). Miami alumni newspaper. Briggs, D. (2008, April 5). Chief Wahoo should go. Retrieved April 03, 2012 from < lifestyles/2008/04/chief_wahoo_should_go.html Connolly, M.R. (2000). What’s in a name? A historical look at Native American-related nicknames and symbols at three U.S. universities. The Journal of Higher Education, Vol. 71, No. 5


Graduate Student Journal (Sep. - Oct., 2000), pp. 515-547. Ohio State University Press. Delacruz, E.M. (2003). Racism American style and resistance to change: Art education’s role in the Indian mascot issue. Art Education, Vol. 56, No. 3 (May, 2003), pp. 13-20. National Art Education Association. Emert, P.R. (2003). Native American mascots: Racial slur or cherished tradition? Respect, vol. 2, no. 2. Fighting Illini say goodbye to the Chief (2011, January 31). CBSnews. com. Retrieved February 21, 2013 from <http://www.cbsnews. com/2100-201_162-2486475.html> King, C.R. (2004). Preoccupations and prejudices: Reflections on the study of sports imagery. Anthropologica, Vol. 46, No. 1 (2004), pp. 29-36. Canadian Anthropology Society. King, T. (2003). The truth about stories. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press. Liscio, S. (2011, May 13). Cap week: Time to retire Chief Wahoo. Retrieved April 2, 2012 from < blog/sweetspot/post/_/id/10856/cap-week-time-to-retire-chiefwahoo> Miami Tribe of Oklahoma (1972). Formal position. Copy in Possession of Miami University Archives. Moreno, S. (1998, May 28). “Redskins” name assailed at hearing. Washington Post. Retrieved April 2, 2012 from <http:// april99/03/retro3.htm> Nicholson, S.L. (2004). Indian mascot world series tied 1-1: Who will prevail as champion? American Indian Law Review, vol. 29, no. 2 (2004-2005), pp. 342-362. University of Oklahoma College of Law. Olmos, E.J. [Director]. (2006). Walkout [Motion Picture]. United States: HBO Films. Our mission. Retrieved February 21, 2013 from <http://> Pewewardy, C.D. (2004). Playing Indian at halftime: The controversy


College of Ethnic Studies over American Indian mascots, logos, and nicknames in school-related events.â&#x20AC;? The Clearing House, Vol. 77, No. 5 (May - Jun., 2004), pp. 180-185. Taylor & Francis, Ltd. Redskin (2012). In New Oxford American dictionary. Retrieved April 4, 2012. Schneider, R. (2001). The Cleveland Indians encyclopedia, 2nd Edition. Sports Publishing L.L.C. Shin, A. (2013, February 7). Redskins name change demanded at Smithsonian forum. Washington Post. Retrieved February 21, 2013 from < local/36970714_1_redskins-trademark-jack-kent-cookegeorge-preston-marshall> Student nonviolent coordinating committee (SNCC) (2009). In The new Georgia encyclopedia. Retrieved April 8, 2012 from <http://>


Graduate Student Journal

Race, Socioeconomic Status, and Class Kim Nguyen

People’s phenotypes have been categorized and judged throughout history. A person’s appearance may trigger negative notions based on the color of his or her skin. The binary system of white or black is being confronted with people identifying as other and the practice of whitening through marriage and other means has been discussed deeply in George Yancey and Ginetta E.B. Candelario’s readings. Two important issues that go hand in hand with this topic of race are class and socioeconomic status. It may seem subtle at times, but it challenges how people’s appearance, especially skin color is perceived. George Yancey’s “The Changing Significance of ‘Latino’ and ‘Asian,’” focused on how Latinos and Asians will slowly integrate into the dominant white society while African Americans will experience more difficulties because of their physical features and skin color (Yancey 126). An interesting point that Yancey makes is how Latinos are having a difficult time assimilating into the dominant white culture right now because of new immigrants coming into North America and the cultural differences are preventing this acceptance into white society (Yancey 127). This quotation describes this process that Latinos will go through,


College of Ethnic Studies “But as more Latinos assimilate into the dominant society, the concept of Hispanics becoming white will gain acceptance. The key for this group will come when the number of later-generation Latinos is sufficiently high compared to the number of first-generation Hispanics.” (Yancey 127). While this is what Latino/a Americans will experience according to Yancey, the intriguing part of his argument for Asian Americans is that socioeconomic status will be a deciding factor in assimilation into the white society. This quotation describe how important the issue of socioeconomics are for Asian Americans to become “white” in the United States, “Because of their relatively high socioeconomic position in the United States, Asian Americans will be more likely to adopt the attitudes of dominant group members than Latino Americans.” (Yancey 131). According to Yancey, this is the case because Asian Americans have distinct phenotypes differences from European Americans which will take a longer time to disappear (Yancey 131). This shows how a higher class position makes it easier to assimilate and how socioeconomics are important in the discussion of race. Another fascinating idea that came from the readings is how through the process of whitening it creates a more advantageous position for a better life with more opportunities. This shows how vital a high socioeconomic status is and the importance people place on belonging to the upper class. Ginetta E.B. Candelario’s “Color Matters: Latina/o Racial Identities and Life Chances,” discussed how race matters in Latinos and Latinas identity. Racial hierarchy also displays how class hierarchy matters as well (Candelario 341). This quotation shows this relation between race and class, “Thus color (together with hair and phenotype) mattered materially and symbolically. In other words, through reproductive and cultural strategies – mating/ marrying lighter; assimilating Hispanic language, dress, religion, and food way; becoming literate and educated – one and one’s lineage could become upwardly mobile in the socio-racial order.” (Candelario 341). Marrying white is a way to be in a better class position (Candelario 344). This shows the complexity of the relationship of race and class. This implies that being white and being wealthy are interconnected.


Graduate Student Journal White assimilation and attaining a high socioeconomic status and upper class position can be shown through how people choose their mates. Ginetta E. B. Candelario’s “Black Women Are Confusing, but the Hair Lets You Know: Perceiving the Boundaries of Dominicanidad,” covered how Dominican women are creating their own way of looking and being seen as white and how hair symbolizes race (Candelario 223). It also depicts the process of choosing a mate and how other traits beside skin colors are taken into consideration. Candelario discussed how having good hair leads to a good job which highlights the notion of how race and class relates, “Having ‘good hair’ will often mean having increased access to good jobs and ‘good’ families through mate-selection preferences.” (Candelario 238). Candelario also looked at how the women at Salon Lamadas perceived men’s work appearance such as hair and clothing (Candelario 247). Even in choosing a mate, the perplexity of race and class is integrated and is visible. In Candelario’s articles she provided a good base for discussing how race and class are connected with marrying white and that choosing a mate involves intricate visual examinations of racial features such as hair to secure a good life. However, her writing was based on one salon so unless a random sample of salons were looked at, it does not provide an accurate count for how most Dominican women feel and think about whiteness. It gave a unique insight to something that may not be known about the community where the salon is located, but it may be only relevant to that area. George Yancey’s prediction for how Latino Americans and Asian Americans will assimilate into the dominant white society illustrate how both groups will eventually conform but each will experience different routes due to physical features. What he did not consider was that there is no certainty to what the economy will be like and even though a high socioeconomic status will help especially for Asian Americans, there are other underlying issues about race relations that are unique to each group that will be a major factor in assimilation. Socioeconomic status and class are significant in any dialogue of race and in these readings it is prominent especially when racial


College of Ethnic Studies features are discussed. There is a multifaceted relationship between race and class that cannot be differentiated. These articles showed how even though socioeconomic status and class was not the main topic at hand, it was mentioned because of its importance in racial hierarchy and discourse. Works Cited Candelario, Ginetta E.B. A Companion to Latino Studies. Malden, Mass: Blackwell Publishing, 2007. Print. Candelario, Ginetta E. B. Black Behind the Ears: Dominican Racial Identity from Museums to Beauty Shops. Durham: Duke University Press, 2007. Print. Yancey, George. Who Is White?: Latinos, Asians, and the New Black/ Nonblack Divide. Boulder: Rienner, 2003. Print.


Graduate Student Journal

Haiti Quake: My Story Guilaine Salomon

Things have a way of lasting in Haiti: old memories, traditions, heartbreaks and loves, jealousies and joys, pain and even death, for the dead can and do walk in Haiti if you have the eyes to see them. The wrenching destruction of the earth in chaos changes everything and nothing. Let me tell my story: Before the Quake On December 29th, 2009I had arrived in Port-au-Prince after thirteen years of absence. When the plane landed, we were welcomed with a folkloric band playing drums. The airport had been modernized since the last time I was there. There was an air conditioned terminal, that contrasted 1950â&#x20AC;&#x2122;s movies when there was a direct descent to the tarmac and one is slapped with the heat and sun as soon one exits the plane. Everything seemed in order until I left the airport. Then, Portau-Prince showed me her endurance to interminable successions of presidents since the abrupt departure of Baby Doc. The coup dâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ĂŠtat and elected leaders that followed the departed president, either civilian or military, had only accomplished the goal of fattening their pockets,


College of Ethnic Studies leaving a young population marginalized from the world, eager to find a leader interested in the betterment of their lives. There were hordes of young boys in their twenties at every street corner. Some of them, who were very inventive, had converted motorcycles into taxis carrying people on the back seat. Others were selling individual pain-killer pills displayed on huge cardboards, to help self-medicate, and any other kind of pills one might need by the unit. The seller would parade and chant the benefit of these pills, while balancing the whole act on a bike or on foot. The desolated hills adjacent to the airport had been invaded by an over construction of houses to accommodate a population who had left their lands in the countryside to become paupers in the city. I didn’t remember the city being so populated and the streets so full of passersby. As we embarked toward town, the hot air smelled of rotten fruits and body perspiration mixed with the sea breeze. The garbage that piled up at street corners signified the discontent of the population with the present conditions. I remember when Baby Doc and his family left. Soon the carnavalesque feeling of the early hours was replaced by a feeling of clearing out, away with the old and welcoming the new. The garbage amassed at street corners was associated with all the Duvalier’s family. I gathered that the population was waiting for a new leader to rescue them from being covered with debris. Ravines with small streams of water used by street merchants to hurriedly wash their produce for the market or their feet from mud and dust, were littered with styrofoam and plastic bottles. There was a rush to use anything to keep life moving without much thought of how to dispose of the remains. Such concerns were for later, when life would provide the means to live instead of struggle to survive. City streets were patrolled by United Nations forces, which had remained in the country on the government’s request, providing security from the gang groups who kidnapped for ransom and to control any spark of rebellion among these unemployed lads. My brother, Philippe, drove into some neighborhoods, avoiding others to get to the outskirts of the city to the family’s house.


Graduate Student Journal Neighborhood walls had become the canvas for free expression of the population. The artists voiced their disapproval of the government, the slumber of government officials, the presence of the U.S. and of the elite living in a world of “je m’enfoutisme,” I care as long as I am well. As with everything in Haiti, the paintings were a synchronization of voodoo and politics. The voodoo gods were the force of resilience and resistance against repression and the dragging of justice. It was difficult to explain to the girls that Haiti was the first republic in the Americas that had won their independence from France, defeating one of the strongest armies sent to squelch a Black revolt. During the American Revolution, Haiti had sent troops to help the Americans against the British re-occupation of the U.S. South, quenching any chance for a return to colonization. Moreover, they helped other liberators in South America with armies, ammunition and money against forces of colonization. The price of getting our independence early was insolent to the White world that has tried to erase that page in history among the oppressed. Now, there was nothing to show the girls the moments of our glorious past. I was glad father, “Papi,” as I called him, was not alive to see the destruction of his beloved country. This was a country he had defended with tooth and nail while he represented his government as an Ambassador all over Latin America, at the United Nations, and in Washington for nineteen years under the regimes of father and son Duvalier; he finally returned to Haiti as Secretary of State and was instrumental in drawing the escape route for Duvalier to France in 1986. After my mother died in 1986, I had returned to Haiti but had never gone back to the family compound, Diquini as it is called. I would instead go to Marlene’s house; Marlene was my mother’s dearest companion and friend. Mom had entrusted me to her while she was sick and she became my counselor, protector and mentor. The last time I returned to Diquini was after my daughter Nanette’s birth in 1995, which was then occupied by Philippe. I had had a dream that my father asked me to give him a last embrace. Unsure of what to do with that dream, my uncle Hubert, the patriarch of the


College of Ethnic Studies family ordered me to go back and to give my father a last embrace. Once this uncle enunciated an order or wish, no one dared to discuss it or go against his wishes. So he told me to gather my children, go and make peace with my father, and to send him a picture as proof. Nanette was three weeks old when I arrived in Diquini. In 1988 my father remarried his young lover, who was younger than my youngest sister, and was the same one who had quarreled with Mom and exchanged threatening words with her. My father had increased his inheritors by having two more children. He built his new wife a house on the family’s property, which would be claimed by the two recent ones. I met the happy couple trying to impress me with their love for each other. Unlike the rest of the family I had not forgotten, the ordeals my mother endured while she was sick, knowing Papi had left her sick bed to be in the arms of that woman. However, just like my father, I was very diplomatic. I watched the couple and observed how my mother’s things became her things. I had a picture taken, embracing my father, sent it to Uncle Hubert and never returned, not even for his funeral. I heard of Philippe’s orphanage in Tante Yo’s house, that was on that same land, since the family home was not ours any more. When I arrived from California, it took me a few days to understand the house. It was built as a maze. I wondered if tante Yo had built this puzzle house to confuse people so they wouldn’t know where she was when she would meet a secret lover. Or did she have an affair with the architect who sold her windows and doors for the price of two for one? Every room had three doors and two to three windows. There were passages that connected rooms and rooms that led to other rooms. There were the guest apartments where we stayed, in the back of the house or the front depending where you had park your car. It consisted of two rooms connected to each other by three doors connected to a bathroom , which had two doors; one of them went to a hall that had three doors. There were also the guest quarters connected to each other by passages and a bathroom away from the other rooms in the house. Those rooms had two doors: one connected to the garden, the other connected to the living


Graduate Student Journal room. Once I understood the maze, I was given a key to secure my belongings in the guest room. The key worked on one door but not the other two doors blocked by a table. So anybody could enter from anywhere to get what they wanted just by pushing any of these tables placed against those doors to prevent the entrance of intruders. These rooms led to a hall connected to the living room. The living room was as big as an airport gate to accommodate graduation or wedding parties and feasts. Then there were rooms that had been converted: the crib room for the babies, the two boys’ room with its own toilet, the girls’ room, Tante Yo’s room connected to the gallery where everybody gathered after meals that led to the kitchen that led to more rooms, where the help lived. Among the help, there was Lola, the most loyal of the help. Wilner, the security guard whose son Fritz was among the children benefitting from the orphanage. Boule, the son of Philippe’s former wife, was diagnosed as being delusional and lived in the compound, not doing much besides bothering the women that helped. But I think his problem came from hunger for he grazed during the night on anything that was left on the table. There was Big, the “tap-tap” chauffeur who would drive the children to school. There were two women who took care of Tante Monique’s needs twenty-four hours each day. Philippe had agreed to care for Tante Monique after she was diagnosed with advanced Alzheimer’s disease. And, there were three other women who took care of the children, clothes, and food. Food was never wasted because there was always somebody to eat it even if it had spoiled. Refrigerators were used to store meats since electricity was not a regular commodity. I noticed the help had devoured the last turkey that had traveled in my bags from California and had spoiled. Wilner transformed it and cooked it into something that looked very appetizing, too good for the dogs they told me. No matter how much the helpers stole food, ate or sold it, there was a constant preoccupation with food. Hunger had taught them to stuff their stomachs as in preparation for the days of scanty chow to come.


College of Ethnic Studies The orphanage was populated with children whose parents could not afford to care for them. There were twelve children in the orphanage before the quake in 2009 and twenty-two after. Others had been turned down for lack of food. Those from the first group had been abandoned at the gates; others were brought by their parents themselves, unable to care for them and had come asking for help until they could have the means to care for them. The orphanage policy gave the parents six months to come back and pick up the child. After six months, the child was put on the adoption list. No parent came to inquire after the quake about whether the orphanage had suffered damages. Nobody would be coming to claim them. They were Philippe’s children now. The adoption process took a minimum of two long years. There was Vivi whose adoptive parents living in Florida had been dealing with Haitian officials for the past four years. She found herself in an airplane three weeks after the quake to join her new parents. It took three hundred thousand people to die for the Haitian government to speed up adoption papers. There was Caroline who had arrived the day we got there, fragile, suffering from malnutrition and who today runs the place. There was Fritz, Wilner’s son, who could be the next master drummer or dancer of Haiti, who lost his Mom and brother in the quake. There was Guy who could not solve his math homework but was smart in money exchange, calculating the different value of the gourds to dollars and had a business selling mangoes from the property to passersby. There was Mashla, abandoned at the gates, who never cried not even when her walker tumbled five steps down and landed on her head. There was Domino, the beauty of the compound, and Camila, the smartest of them all who loved to read and write and would always be with Domino as a pair of twins. And Losette, “gros totote,” who dreamed of marrying a “blan” so she could travel and would look at Kendrick, my husband, with sleepy eyes. Richi had been adopted as a baby when his mother died of AIDS during childbirth. He was miraculously spared from being contaminated. The property had been devastated by the two previous hurricanes, and there was a lack of money to maintain it. The family house had been


Graduate Student Journal sold to a Protestant who had turned the house into a kindergarten. But strangely enough the land around the house was still ours. The mango trees were the prize items of the property. Part of the property had been sold to a nightclub owner who forced the neighborhood to listen to his Mexican ballads on his loud speakers from early afternoon to midnight. Philippe took us to that nightclub one evening. The owner was very obliging. He offered cola to the girls, a beer to Philippe, and he asked me if he could see me at closing. Philippe quickly replied that I was married and my husband expected me to join him soon. Philippe had become a medieval lord in Diquini. It was ironic for somebody who had been educated abroad to act as if he had never left because he reverted to habits attributed to those whose world encompasses just a neighborhood. Philippe reminded me of Papi. He was not as tall as him but one could confuse him for my father when he walked. His hair had grayed, and he had taken the laid back mannerisms of people living in the tropics, with the uniform of dressing with shorts, loose cotton shirts and sandals. He was always very jovial, childlike, fun to be with, always very complimentary even when he did not mean it, and always surrounded by women from every social class, whose intentions were always to protect and serve him. Life had been hard for Philippe. As the first grandson, he had been expected to follow a career in the law or in sciences, a career of choice of the members of the family, but he had instead wasted his illusions and money on ventures and schemes with no success. He had followed my father’s return to Haiti, unable to get himself accustomed to the “rough” American life of having to do without help. As a good Haitian and proud son of my father, women were his utmost interest and the children bored him. Unfortunately for him, he could not deny the paternity of any of these kids, since each child was an exact replica of himself. Upon Papi’s and Tante Yo’s death, Philippe made the most daring decision to fill the property with forgotten children of the city. He was tired of seeing children abandoned in the streets, malnourished, with flies around their eyes and mouths, and eager to follow anybody’s


College of Ethnic Studies proposition in return for a piece of bread. That was the best decision that Philippe ever made. That day, he saw a group of kids surrounding a lad who had opened up his car trunk to show them guns and promising them that they could have them if they would follow his orders. Philippe decided that the faith of these children had to change. At first he started by helping mothers who could not care for themselves nor could afford to take care of their children. Soon the word spread in the neighborhood that he was opening an orphanage, and children were being dropped at the gate. He had to train himself in this type of administration, to get proper licenses and documentation to safeguard the children on the property. At first, the family, knowing of his past ventures, had not trusted this new undertaking, not even when European families had successfully adopted many of these children. I was surprised to find out that neither of my family members in Haiti nor friends knew of his new interest until my arrival. He was the perfect person to run an orphanage. Up before sunrise, he had a moment of peace while he checked the news, then had coffee and planned for the three meals including snacks and school lunches and oversaw that the school uniforms were impeccably clean and ironed. Then he would start waking up the first group of children whose school started in the morning, drive them with the help of Big, the chauffeur, and Marie Carmel, his girlfriend, to the different schools. He would then return and perform the same task for the group of children who attended classes in the afternoon. One could relax only when the whole group was asleep which was after 7 PM. Philippe’s jovial nature made it difficult for the help to know when he was serious or joking unless the tone of his voice changed. On a typical morning, one could hear him roaring orders through the neighborhood to the help, while they rolled their eyes listening to the litany of everyday orders: “You were duped and charged too much for the rice”, he said to the cook. “You are using too much soap to wash clothes and the nothing looks very clean.”


Graduate Student Journal “Who’s been drinking my rum? Did you use it in last night’s dessert?” He held audience under a mango (“la reine”) tree, which provided enough shade to accommodate him and three others, seeking his advice. The advice ranged from identity documentation to family quarrels, from computer problems, to providing personal counsel to advice. Philippe also mentored a number of young boys who would hang around the compound. I was unsure of their role in the compound. Sometimes they worked with Wilner, other times with Big, or as Philippe’s bodyguards. On some occasions, I noticed that two of them would follow me, keeping their distance, as I was dealing with street merchants. They also followed Kendrick as he wandered in the neighborhood eager to stumble upon a Voodoo ceremony or to make the acquaintance of the drummer playing during the night. The Quake The quake came on January 12th 2010, the day before my departure back to California. I gathered my girls, and the older children of the orphanage, and was sitting in front of the television set in the living room. Guy, the oldest of the boys in the orphanage, had convinced me to sit and watch this story of “lougarou” evil and “lesanges” angels, and I joined him to watch his interpretation of an old James Bond movie. I heard a thunderous guttural noise as if two trucks had collided head-on in front of the orphanage gates. Then, the house shook. I knew it was an earthquake. The DVD player’s clock stopped at 4:53 PM. The living room was a place where the children could play during the rainy season, and was bare of furniture or wall pictures, just a bookcase filled of old medical books remained. There was the television set on a heavy old piece of furniture that did not budge, and the chairs where we sat. Only the books fell. I told everyone to remain still, while I prayed loudly, “Manman, Jesus, Mary, Joseph”, on and on again while looking around me and waiting for the shaking to stop. “Out of the house!” I yelled. I was screaming for Philippe, and Philippe was looking for me, and we were both yelling for the help to


College of Ethnic Studies grab children. “Babies to the courtyard!” The only one who stayed in the house was Tante Monique, suffering from Alzheimer’s disease and who had been transferred to Philippe’s care instead of a nursing facility in Miami. She was seated in the back porch were we could watch her closely in case we had to make a run to get her out of her comfort zone. Mangoes littered the ground, and, for the first time since my arrival, nobody ran to pick them up. The small storage shed that housed Tonton Alcindor was destroyed, and I was glad to have with me a levelheaded person. Wilner, the security guard, appeared, his face contorted, with little Fritz in his arms. He was bringing news of what he had seen two blocks from the compound. He had gone to visit Fritz’s mother, his lover, and was standing outside the house when the quake hit. The mom had run inside the house to save her recent born, Fritz’s brother, and did not come out. She and the baby were crushed under the rubble. Wilner, astounded, brought Fritz to the compound and returned with help to unbury his lover and recent born. The wailing and yelling surrounded us. There was no electricity, a commodity we had learned to live without, but more importantly the cell phones were not working. The only communication to the outside world was a radio that was reporting on the destruction of the city. Then it struck me: Kendrick was not in the compound. He had left the day before to meet with Daniel and Jn Raymond, both master drummers, whom he had met in California. Jn Raymond’s place was a beautiful house next to the cimetiere and he had an all day and night gig with them that day. He had met Daniel for a master drum class at the Ecole Nationale and was walking back to Jn. Raymond’s house when the quake hit them in the street. At first, the noise before the quake made people believe that it was gunshots, another coup was taking place, and people were running in all directions looking for a place to hide. Kendrick joined them and ran into an alley to find shelter. Daniel pulled him out seconds after the quake hit. A moment later, the walls in the alley fell on those looking for shelter. As they walked back to Jn Raymond’s house, there were crushed


Graduate Student Journal people’s arms and legs sticking from rubble. The whole market in front of Jn. Raymond’s house, busy with people hours before, became a burial plot. There was dust from cinder blocks everywhere. A succession of people arrived at the house, among them a man came screaming in tears and vomiting. He was walking toward his house when the quake hit; the house buried his five children and wife. Women rolled on the ground screaming and possessed by despair. The city was engulfed in darkness. From afar, the light on the top of the Palais National had disappeared; later we would see the whole roof of that old construction had come down. Kendrick could see fire coming from a gas station, and he remembered the 1906 earthquake that provoked the fire that killed and destroyed San Francisco. The fire only burned the station and did not spread. He found solace in Jn. Raymonds’ Jeep for the night where he tried to call the house and me all night. At four o’clock in the morning, he noticed that Jn. Raymond’s house was filled with people who had taken shelter from the destruction outside its walls. Kendrick told Jn. Raymond he would go back to the compound by foot. Ernst, a musician, would accompany him since his family’s house was in Carrefour Feuille, on the way to Diquini. Jumping piles of rocks, going through ravines, they reached the main road and saw government buildings converted to huge brick pancakes. There were people everywhere and dead ones among the rubble. They reached Ernst’s house, and, after checking that everybody was fine, proceeded to the compound. Meanwhile, in the compound, the radio announced that no houses were left standing in the vicinity of the cimetiere, and I panicked. I needed to go to Jn. Raymond and find him. I thought I had to bring back a finger, a nail, something to his family, I couldn’t return without him; his family would never forgive me if I returned empty handed. I thought about how to keep the girls and all of the twelve children safe, while I searched for Kendrick. I kept my serenity by looking more like a mummy, not moving, not talking, only looking at the fallen gate, and waiting in the hope that he would cross the gates. Night came fast. The yelling in the neighborhood intensified.


College of Ethnic Studies Without any gates or walls, outsiders started crossing the yard as it was the shortest distance to reach the hospital, which was located in front of the compound. These people would bring their horror stories of family members buried under the rubble. There were only people helping each other in excavating loved ones and neighbors with their bare hands. The dead found under the rubble that nobody claimed were placed on the sidewalk, often whole families, a father, next to mother, children and babies. There was no time to place a sheet to cover the dead bodies. In Haiti, in order to bury loved ones at the cemeteries, people needed death certificates issued by a judge, and therefore people waited for permission to use the cemetery and for help that never came. I checked on neighbors, people I had seen hours before the quake, among them three of the seven children of the neighborhood houngan, Voudou priest Amos had been crushed; one of them was trapped under a cement staircase put together against the laws of physics. Suddenly Philippe disappeared. One of the caregivers told me that he maybe was at the hospital located in front of the compound. So, I went to find him for more news. I didnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t realize my girls and the oldest of the orphanage were following me until I reached the hospitalâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s gates. Then, before I could return, I saw the injured lying on the lawn of the hospital. The hospital structure had suffered, and nurses were not allowing anyone to go in. Doctors and nurses were pushing IVs in the parking lot, around the rose bushes, anywhere and everywhere people had been placed to wait for help. People yelled for Godâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s help, drunken by despair of their already feeble life expectations. Back at the house, Philippe had opened a rum bottle and poured me a drink. The effect of the shock was stronger than the rum and we continued drinking a second bottle waiting for that serenity to embrace us. We had to plan on a makeshift sleeping arrangement for the children. Philippe wanted to sleep in the open, exposed to the continuous dropping of mangoes on us, since the aftershocks came at every 40 to 55 minutes interval. I convinced him to gather mattresses, and I placed them next to Tante Monique so we would keep watch on her and everybody together. Without walls, the security of the place was at risk, and we worried about


Graduate Student Journal robbers and muggers looking for food and water, so we had to increase the vigilance. Wilner, back at the house and not knowing what to do yet with the bodies of his lover and baby, came back to secure Diquini. He would be first to be on the alert; the second was Tonton Alcindor and Philippe after. No adults could sleep so while the kids slept, we paid attention to the noises coming through the pitch-black darkness between the mango trees and prayed. That night the sky was littered with stars and the moon was shining. I thought about how ironic it was to be rewarded with such beauty when there was so much death and destruction down around us. My mummified state turned into cold sweat, but to calm the kids, I went and lay down next to them. Richi peed on the bed and wet the three kids who were sleeping next to him. The pee rolled onto the girlsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; backs and then to mine, so I placed towels on the bed to keep them from being cold. The quake did not seem to affect the mosquitoes whose hunger did not diminish during the night. As soon as the porch quieted down, I went to the kitchen. A third bottle of rum was opened and Phlippe was strategizing on the next move. Anything was possible, and we braced ourselves for the inevitable. He reassured me that Mom (long dead) would be protecting Kendrick and that she would not allow for any of us to be harmed. I did not remember having any premonitions that would have alerted me, and I didnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t know if the rum was working. I tried to remember recent dreams and apparitions in the compound. I, as many of the women in my family on my motherâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s side, had received the gift of visions and dreams, which tormented my life when I was growing up. I learned to accept the dreams as I grew older. Life and death are a fine line in Haitian culture, where the dead intermingles with the living at all times. So I had seen Tante Yo, dead for a number of years, the night before Kendrick came to Port-Au-Prince. She was dressed in her usual two-piece blue office suit with a colored shirt and had a cane to help her walk which added elegance to her stature. She was radiant and happy. So I saluted her and thanked her for the visit. I saw Papi in the corridor, dead years after Tante Yo. I was with the girls, and we had discovered among his books, some naked pictures that


College of Ethnic Studies he had taken of women. He was obviously mad that I was showing his porno to the girls, and so he showed up in front of me, barring the passage, looked at me and left. OK. “I am sorry,” I said aloud. “I will not poke my nose in your things.” The dead had showed up before the quake, but there was no apparent message. So I didn’t know what to expect of Kendrick’s welfare. Philippe said he would go on foot to look for Kendrick, and as he was sure to find him, he would then follow up to look for his son in Delmas and then go to his girlfriend’s place in Petion Ville. Wilner would accompany him. I was to stay with the children and guard the compound from intruders together with Tonton Alcindor. The Day after the Quake The chanting, prayers and cries never stopped during the night and intensified as the first rays of sun came in. The day after the quake was the hottest day of the month, and the stench of the dead bodies baking in the sun was becoming unbearable. By ten o’clock in the morning, those who took it upon themselves to unbury the trapped had decided to help only those who could answer their calls: “Gin moun la? Anyone here? ‘ was the call for help, and if no one answered, they would continue their way to the next house. By eleven o’clock in the morning, while listening to the children playing and planning the day’s meal preparations, someone cried, “Min blan-an, the white man is back!.” Kendrick showed up with Ernst at the house. By five o’clock in the morning, he was on the road and saw the destruction, made sure not to step on bodies placed on the sidewalk and was shocked as everyone else. I could not believe his luck and thanked all my protectors for bringing him home safe. Marie Carmel, Philippe’s girlfriend and president of the orphanage, had been lucky too. She had been helping her adopted daughter Naika with her homework when the quake hit. As she fell from her chair, she pulled Naika under her and stayed still knowing that her body prevented the wall from crushing her and her daughter to death. As she was pinned down to the floor, her leg holding a board that held the


Graduate Student Journal wall, she noticed that the floor under her had disappeared, and she could see the top of the cars in the garage below her. Above her, lived an older lady to whom she called to find out if she was alive. She answered and during the night they would either call to each other or tap on something as they waited for help. She must have died in the early hours, for as soon as Marie Carmel could see the first rays of light, the sounds above her stopped. Then Marie Carmel heard the voice of her assistant who had come to check on her. Upon finding that she was alive, the friend saw a group of “helpers,” young boys looking for help, and asked them to help. The walls had collapsed, and those left standing were about to come down which made it next to impossible to remove anyone who might be trapped without equipment. They decided that if there were any survivors, they would be crushed in the next aftershock and moved on. The friend insisted until she was able to convince a young lad to grab Naika’s feet and pulled her first, and then he told Marie Carmel to cover her face and head, as she would slide from that same small hole. As soon as Marie Carmel was pulled, the bar that had pinned her down crashed and the whole apartment fell on the garage below. Marie Carmel was taken to a nearby clinic but upon arriving, the shock of surviving was healing enough for her in comparison to those who needed amputations and emergency care. When Philippe arrived, Marie Carmel and Naika were safe. Fortunately he found them before he saw her building. I thanked Mom for holding that wall. That night Marie Carmel came to the compound and more rum was opened in silence. Later, after a meal, Kendrick and I cleaned the broken glass and swept the floors of the guest bedrooms and the children’s rooms. In the living room old medical books belonging to Tante Jeanine had fallen from the shelves. One of the medical textbooks was open on a page with pictures of vaginal fibroids. All the other ones that had fallen were closed on the floor. I read the open book and realized a message was sent to me. Tante Jeanine, my godmother had died in August, those were her books, and she had counseled me not to touch my fibroids against the advice of my gynecologist who wanted to perform a


College of Ethnic Studies hysterectomy. She told me to be patient with them. I have three of them. If they did not bother me, she said, menopause would take care of them. A bit shaken, I said, “Thank you.” I knew then that the compound had not been affected because Papi, Tante Yo, Tante Jeanine, and Mom had protected us. After the quake, Tante Monique gaze changed. No longer looking to the ground, her eyes would focus with intensity at the person standing in front of her. It was as if the quake had shaken her brain, and she was able to recognize me or was trying to remember who I was. The help was ordered to allow entrance to anybody coming to the property who was hungry or thirsty or in need of temporary shelter. I asked Guy, the oldest boy, to gather all the mangoes that had fallen, and place them in baskets at both gates, free for passersby to take and eat. To my surprise, I later discovered that Guy would wake up early to gather the best mangoes and sell them against my wishes. When I discovered his business, I told him to stop or I would take his profit and his behind would remember me. I am sure business went on as usual as soon as I returned home. In the absence and silence of government officials after the quake, Philippe’s advice focused on what to do with the dead. “Throw them over the fence of the cimetiere”, he advised. Entire families had not been claimed, and people were afraid of contracting disease associated with the dead. The cimetiere gates were closed and there was nobody around to open them. People threw the bodies over the gates. Others took them to the hospital, which became a designated outdoor morgue. Communication with the outside world was through text messages sent to Gina, the girls’ adopted grandmother and dearest friend to inform her we were alive and did not know how to proceed since there was no gas. We would keep the cell phone open only to check on text messages or to send them. I did not know the extent of the city’s destruction—only what people reported back. Two days after the quake there was no signal that the President-elect was alive or dead: no official communication to the population about help coming. Nothing. Complete silence. Only the announcer on the radio informed listeners


Graduate Student Journal about children looking for their relatives and the need for help coming from outside the city. I wanted to make sure there was enough food in the house before I left. So, I ventured into the streets to gather everything I could buy with the help of the girls and the “bodyguards” whose mission was to carry the bags. I told Philippe to inform the help that food excesses would not be tolerated and that their job was on the line if they did not follow orders. For the first time, I let them know that this was my land as much as Philippe’s and I had much to say on who stayed or left. I asked Lola to keep an eye on who ate what, when, and by whose permission. On the third day Gina’s messages told us to go to the American embassy because evacuation had started. There was no way to inquire if information coming from California was correct, nor any gasoline to take us to the embassy located in Petion Ville or anywhere else. I did not even know if the embassy was free of damage or if it even still existed. In the meantime, Kendrick sent a text message to his friend Larry to inform him and others that we were fine and were looking for ways to leave the city. Kendrick started to get impatient. He had enough of everybody around him and needed to go home. He was against my idea to stay behind and help while he traveled with the girls. His insistence forced Philippe to convince the administrator at the gasoline place to take care of the reins of the situation, since the owner of the place and his family had been crushed in the earthquake. On the fifth day, Philippe told us to get ready because there was a construction truck driver who had gotten gasoline and would be taking us to the airport. The girls sat next to the driver, a young lad who had been in the compound and had set eyes on the girls. I stood in the back with Kendrick and the bags. Our faces were covered with cloths dampened with limejuice to dissipate the smell of burning flesh. I prayed the girls would not have to witness any charred bodies in the streets. The air was full of a mélange of sweet tangy flamed human bodies, sticking to my nostrils, penetrating my hair and underwear. On our way to the airport we looked at the destruction—as if a bomb had been tossed on the city. Foreign security forces barricaded


College of Ethnic Studies the way to the airport. No one was allowed to be next to the airport. Therefore, we gathered our bags and continued by foot. Everybody wanted to leave Port-au-Prince on that day. Adeline was able to force herself through the crowds and reach the American Consul who told her to go back outside and to wait for him. When he came out, he told us he had lost his home, the Embassy was in shambles, and he had been organizing the evacuations efforts for the past three days. The American Consul had no time to sleep or change his clothes, damp with sweat and dust, and he needed our cooperation. The crowd quieted and listened to someone who had experienced losses just like themselves. Children, the injured, and others were divided into groups. While waiting in the hot sun, the American Consul distributed water bottles and rescue food. All tasted wonderful coming from a compassionate hand. The airport had suffered heavy damage. Military and cargo planes came with foreign assistance from Brazil, Argentina, Chile, and Venezuela bringing with them medical supplies, equipment, dogs for rescue and reporters eager to hear our stories. These same planes left with groups of children and the injured. After standing for eight hours, we left for Miami. On landing, I was surprised to be welcomed by concerned and saddened immigration officials. There were embraces, tears, good luck wishes by a group so accustomed to mistrust from anybody coming from Haiti and elsewhere. This was not the time for reproaches. For the first time in a long time, and after much destruction and death, we felt welcomed by this country. There was that moment in time. Change for Haiti and Haitians. It was a moment that I remember. The January 12th 2010 earthquake had a 7.0 magnitude and 33 aftershocks, 14 of them registered a 5.0 magnitude. 316.000 people died, 300.000 were injured and 1,000.000 became homeless.


Graduate Student Journal


College of Ethnic Studies


Graduate Student Journal


College of Ethnic Studies

Male Honor & Female Shame — When Patriarchy Dictates Morality Tulay Furrow

ABSTRACT Culturally reinforced patriarchy has been used to dictate cultural mores for centuries. This essay is one student’s reflection on her cultural past in her homeland of Turkey, through the lens of 16th century Spanish colonial control of the Pueblo Indians of New Mexico. Just as Spanish controlled the Pueblo’s sexuality, many societies today are still highly concerned about controlling sexuality, especially whenever and wherever borders are crossed. Using Ramon Gutierrez’s book, When Jesus Came, the Corn Mothers Went Away for historical reference, this essay contrasts the experience of patriarchal control across time and distance, concluding both that patriarchy has changed little over time, and that violation of cultural mores has a price. One aim of this essay is to show how religious principles, which are almost always based in patriarchy, transform into cultural norms that the community is then expected to uphold. These norms are used across religions and cultures to provide for, or to remove, individual agency, and to support self-perpetuating power structures that enforce gender inequality.


Graduate Student Journal Gutierrez’s book, When Jesus Came, the Corn Mothers Went Away, portrays the 16th century religious and sexual repression of the New Mexico Pueblo by the Spanish. It is written in a style that reaches beyond the academic. He paints a picture of the 300 years of Pueblo history under Spanish rule using the “rules of marriage” as a mural revealing the subtle cultural changes over time. His book explores the legacy of colonization by reviewing the connection between female shame and male honor within the context of the colonial marriage contract. I find similarities in his descriptions of gender inequality and my own Turkish culture. Out of a deep appreciation for the clarity in When Jesus Came, the Corn Mothers Went Away I use it as a lens to consider gender inequality over time. Further, I extend the book’s depiction of the discriminatory experience of the Pueblo to a global perspective, especially relative to my personal experiences. Through his mural, I was able to understand my family’s willingness to interpret my marriage as taboo, and their consequent sense of an obligation to use patriarchy to protect the family’s honor. Gutierrez wrote an historical account of 350 years of Pueblo life under Spanish rule, an account that certainly did not include anything about 20th century Turkish culture. And yet, to me the analogous mores are crystal clear. He shows how the 18th century church supported patriarchy and a Spanish supremacy class hierarchy upon the Pueblo. As Gutierrez showed, marriage was completely under the control of the church, “…. matrimony was totally under the jurisdiction of the Catholic Church. The Church determined who were and were not appropriate partners, specified the juridical form of marriage, and defined the ritual gestures that constituted the sacrament”. (Gutierrez, 243) He also makes the point that ethnic, racial, and national borders are also sexual borders; borders which constrain love to culturally approved populations. Gutierrez clearly documented how some Spanish colonizers followed the “rules of marriage,” acquiring great wealth and prestige, sometimes after waiting many years for a proper Spanish woman. Similarly, to the lives Gutierrez described as being controlled by


College of Ethnic Studies the power of patriarchy, in this essay, I use modern day and very personal stories describing the same power. Despite the passage of hundreds of years, little has changed in the power of religion to support patriarchy’s establishment of the taboos governing female shame and male honor. These taboos played a central role in the case on my brother’s quest for a male heir. My brother’s high school girlfriend became pregnant prior to graduation. They married to avoid the social stigma that would have been placed on both families. After the marriage produced a second girl, he left his wife and crossed borders to Saudi Arabia, where the patriarchy supports polygamy. There, he married a second wife. After having another two daughters and no son, he left his Saudi wife and moved in with an Indonesian woman living in Saudi Arabia. With his third wife, he finally got his son. In order to move to Indonesia, he had to follow the requirements of the border. In order to get a visa for Indonesia he had to marry the mother of his son, and in order to marry her he had to divorce his Turkish and Saudi wives. Borders and the cultures that they protect were critical in determining the route my brother took as he sought out a male heir. He simultaneously discounted and discarded his female children and the women who produced them. This is a clear example of the value patriarchy places on the male and the lack of value it places on the female. In my case, I was granted a US visa and emigrated from my native Turkey to the US when I was in my twenties after I married my American husband. Turkey is Islamic, and as Gutierrez established, religion supports patriarchal control of the family. My decision to marry a non-Turkish, non-Muslim man was very controversial in my family and neighborhood. Marrying a non-Muslim was a taboo and marrying anyone that was not Turkish was highly unusual. My choice was a source of embarrassment for my brothers, father, and uncles to the point where I was disowned by my Uncle and subjected to death threats by my brother for my defiant (deviant) act of marrying a non-Turkish/non-Muslim man. My Ethnic studies and Women’s studies experiences have helped me to understand that it was patriarchy collectively that drove their


Graduate Student Journal opinions. Even though I hadn’t expected to find answers in my Ethnic Studies reading to help explain my family’s perspectives, I learned it was society’s desire to control my sexual border that led to their extreme actions. The integral connection that honor has with marriage was not something that I had previously considered. I understand it now from the tapestry Gutierrez weaves with his words. He shows the associations of honor and marriage. The method is that for “proper” marriages, land follows marriage and wealth follows land. The progression makes obvious the connection of social status with virtue. Religions define virtue and empower cultural control of it. The Spanish colonizers were determined to control the Pueblo’s sexuality, just as most societies today control female sexuality especially where borders are concerned. These borders take many forms. From the national to the sexual, in my case, the borders also included religion, and culture. While I had been immersed enough to understand that Islam, and my culture in general, had very strong norms of sexuality, it is my Ethnic Studies training that has allowed me to see the bigger picture: that religion, regardless of name, has assigned the responsibility of sexual repression enforcement to the family and community as normative gatekeepers. I have seen this first hand in my native country, and I have learned about the pervasiveness of it in other countries. The US is no exception, having used laws specifically aimed at controlling sexuality across borders by restricting immigration based on ethnic and racial borders. The 1908 Gentlemen’s Agreement with Japan is a clear example (Oliver, 2004). In order to reduce the appearance of racism, this agreement allowed the immigration of “picture brides” on a limited basis. This supported the US’s concern for the potential for prolific birth rates while also supporting Japan’s own patriarchal norms’ by supporting Japan’s ban on geographical mobility for unmarried women. Other examples include the Page Law of 1875, restricting Asian immigration especially immigration of women, and the overall general ban on homosexual immigration, all intended to support the US heteropatriarchal imperative. This gate keeping responsibility strives for cultural homogeneity


College of Ethnic Studies in terms of religious and sexual norms. Strong peer pressure of the community ensures that cultural norms are maintained. I had a difficult time understanding the reaction of my uncle and brother until I considered this peer pressure to remove nonconformity. While I escaped my death threats, I know that they were serious. Honor killings, while not common, do occur. A newspaper recently reported that a father killed his gay son in what is referred to as an honor killing. (Metroweekly, 2009) The pain I endured for my choice of marriage partner is not unique. In my home country, especially in remote rural communities, female dating is controlled, and arranged marriages are still common. My studies allow me to understand that the cultural lessons of conformity have been passed down for many generations and cultural change is slow and subtle as Gutierrez pointed out. My family was willing to interpret my intent as taboo and to enforce patriarchal gender rules against me to protect the family’s honor. In this context my family would agree with Gutierrez when he says, “Marriage was the most important event in the course of life, and it was an occasion when it was necessary for the honor of the family to take precedence over all other considerations.” (Gutierrez, 227) While Gutierrez focuses on the parallels of male honor and female shame in 18th century New Mexico, a contemporary look tells us that little has changed and the issues he discusses are valid today. Protection of honor begins and ends at the borders; however, they are defined. BIBLIOGRAPHY Jimmy Vong, “1875 Page Law (An act supplementary to the acts in relation to immigration).” Campus Library. University of Washington Bothell a. Web. 28 Apr 2013. <http://library.uwb. edu/guides/usimmigration/1875_page_law.html>. Metroweekly, . “NYTimes profiles Turkish gay man’s murder when father invoked ‘’honor killing’’.” MetroWeekly 26 Nov 2009: n. pag. Web. 20 May 2011. <


Graduate Student Journal news/last_word/2009/11/nytimes-profiles-turkish-gay-m. html>. Pamela Oliver, “Asian American History - Outline.” Professor Pamela Oliver Department of Sociology. University of Wisconsin, 24 12 2004. Web. 28 Apr 2013. <http://www.ssc.wisc. edu/~oliver/soc220/Lectures220/AsianAmer/asamoutline. htm>. Patricia Zavella, “Playing With Fire’: The Gendered Construction of Chicana/Mexicana Sexuality,: in Roger N. Lancaster and Micaela di Leonardo, Eds., The Gender/Sexuality Reader (New York: Routledge, 1997). Ramon A. Gutierrez, “A History of Latina/o Sexualities” in Marysol Asencio, Ed., Latina/o Sexualities: Probing, Powers, Passions, Practices, and Policies (New Brunswick, N.J.: Rutgers University Press, 2010). Ramon A. Gutierrez, “The Pueblo Indian World in the Sixteen Century;” “Honor and Social Status,” and “Honor and Virtue” Chapters 1, 5, & 6 from Ramon A. Gutierrez, When Jesus Came, the Corn Mothers Went Away: Marriage, Sexuality, and Power in New Mexico, 1500-1846(Stanford University Press, 1991). “The Book of Genesis: Chapters 1-4” bible/genesis.htm


College of Ethnic Studies

Familia 1992

Yolanda Rodriguez

I shyly look at the camera, as we pose for a family picture. It is a Sunday morning, in Boyle Heights, Los Angeles. In the picture, my older sister Nancy stands to my right, and, on my left, my younger brother Jaime Junior (Jr.). Next to Jr. stands my mother, Maria Jacovina, who is holding my younger brother Cesar. We all stand in front of my father’s gray van, which he lovingly calls “mi ben.” Behind the camera is my father, Jaime, who proudly takes a picture of his familia, as we get ready for our Sunday trip.


Graduate Student Journal When we first came out of the house, my dad was ready, with camera in hand, and told us where to stand—making sure his ben was a part of this portrait. By standing in for the father that is behind the camera, my dad’s ben, in this image, takes the place of the patriarch. This van was the first vehicle that my dad was able to afford, in the United States. It was used for work, as a jardinero, and for our Sunday family trips to visit relatives. Monday through Saturday, my dad stored his lawn mowers and work equipment, in the back part of the van. Sunday mornings, he would get up early to move the machines and equipment, into the garage. He would sweep and clean the floors, to set down a large tabla. Part of our Sunday ritual was to bring blankets and pillows out, to set on top of the tabla in the back part of the van, which is where we would sit. My dad did not believe in seat belts because, a few years before, he had been involved in a car accident and was trapped by one. My sister and I loved our weekly trips in the van because we got to roll around in all the space it had. My dad grew much attached to his ben—joking to relatives, “lo quiero mas que a mi mujer.” As a jardinero, where he had to drive from one city to another, he spent much of his time with the van, as his only compañero. If anybody criticized his ben or mentioned anything about it, he would emphasize that “mi ben es el que nos ha dado de comer a todos.” He took great pride in the fact that he, as the sole breadwinner of the home, was able to provide for all us. But truthfully, even if my mother would have wanted to work, he would have never allowed it. His father passed to him “traditional” ideas that emphasized divided gender roles, where to be a real man and father meant providing financially; it was the woman’s role to remain, in the home, and provide any type of cariño. As a result, my father never directly showed affection; he believed that his fatherly role was fulfilled, as long as there was food on the table and a roof over his children’s heads. In 2012, twenty years after this picture was taken, dad’s only work compañero, the beloved ben, broke down and could not be revived. Since my dad built this strong attachment to his ben, he did not have the heart to get rid of it. Instead, he parked it at the very end of our driveway,


College of Ethnic Studies where it does not move anymore. Sometimes after work, he will go to the van and just quietly sit there, looking out the window and thinking. Whenever he is upset for some reason, or does not feel like being inside the house, he will go and sit with his ben. My dad’s ben has come to represent more than just the provider of our home. The van has also shown my dad’s sensitive side—a side he never felt comfortable expressing to us. The relationship that he has built with his ben has taught me that my dad was conditioned to believe that his role was to provide and not show emotion. His love, for this van, stems from his thankfulness for it to have allowed and helped him to care for his familia—caring for us is his way of expressing his love.


Graduate Student Journal

Nurturing Fears & SelfRacialization: Our Bodies in the Context of Contemporary Genetics and Race1 Diane Nguyen

Fear metabolizes our reflections of ourselves and our conceptions of the world. Our aggressors fear our memories, our traditions, our spiritualties, our sexualities, and our bodies. So they systematically mark us and resource violence to demystify our differences; by organizing, reducing, penetrating, and eliminating our bodies, they act against imaginary threats with the impulses of their lacking. Although the foreboding of an unruly reality makes it easy to be complacent to the stability of stationary fear, it is counterintuitive to trust that being afraid makes us feel safer or more in control. Instead, fear is a method of discipline that dulls us by inhibitionâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;even our aggressors must be disciplined to be productive in the violent systems that they maintain. By capitalizing on fears of disease, deformity, and death, genetics and genomics (GGS)â&#x20AC;&#x201D;the sciences studying our DNAâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;engage racializing and dehumanizing mechanisms to construct knowledges that inform our biomedical system. But our aimless reliance, on the medical interventions and pharmaceutical treatments produced from these processes, directly sustain violence against our memories, bodies, and communities. This essay introduces GGS research with succinct


College of Ethnic Studies highlights of the racializing and dehumanizing implications of our complacency, while also advocating for increased interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary engagement of Ethnic studies scholarship in the discursive processes of GGS knowledge production. In our contemporary moment, it is massively easy to find reports about research expanding on autism among African Americans2, that Asians have genetically unique susceptibility to kidney disease3, that African Americans surprisingly possess the “same gene changes as Whites”4, or to see an online coupon for direct-to-consumer genetic ancestry testing5. But to what extent are we challenging the epistemic authority of science and questioning its conceptions and significations of race? Specifically, advocacy for universal healthcare, increased response to uneven health disparities, or, simply, the hope for a medical intervention that may prolong a loved one’s life makes it dangerously simple to overlook our investments in knowledge that actively reify biological ideas of race and institute them into our social systems. But a “genomic era”6, in a colorblind society, makes it critically valuable to scrutinize, for instance, how a social category can possess genetic linkages to a complex disease. Theories of geographic ancestry and admixture mapping procedures reference Eurocentric conceptions of history and physical differences. Admixture mapping, in particular, is a prevalent genetic analysis technique that perpetuates ideas of how one population is related to another based on their genetic association to specific disease markers; in other words, admixture mapping asserts that one’s race may be a precursor for disease. Motivated by social-based statistics of racially-stratified health disparities, geneticists attempt to research the genetic linkages between racial groups and their increased rate of so-and-so disease, thus challenging the impact of social factors (e.g. access to clean air, healthy food, quality education, employment). According to Dorothy Roberts, in Fatal Invention, when data outcomes do not reflect the preconceived assumption about a group’s association with a disease, geneticists challenge the data instead of questioning their ideas about racialized genes. Furthermore, they force statistical associations to assert their findings.7


Graduate Student Journal The processes to obtain genetic material depend on coercing marginalized communities for their tissues, which are then commodified and stored in massive information databases. For example, by exploiting archaic and sub-human conceptions of indigenous peoples, geneticists attempt to obtain DNA samples from indigenous populations with the rationale that they will go extinct.8 California Supreme Court ruled, in Moore v. Regents of California (1990), that individuals do not “retain property rights” after their tissues leave their bodies.9 The inability for individuals to control the use of their genetic material has direct implications on, as example, issues of privacy rights (e.g. tribal sovereignty, kinship, insurance policies) because their DNA and any research related to it can be published without consent.10 As Linda Tuhiwai Smith poignantly noted, “researchers enter communities armed with goodwill in their front pockets and patents in their back pockets, they bring medicine into villages and extract blood for genetic analysis”.11 When our health is at risk, it is physically and emotionally convenient for many of us to fully embrace biomedicine. But we must be conscious of our fears of death and disease, and we must be critical of the ideas and medical interventions that we choose to consume. Conceptions about racially-specific genetic mutations are false.12 But by associating our racialized bodies with ideas about our genetic predisposition to disease, we racialize ourselves and naturalize conceptions about biological deficiency. Furthermore, we must think critically about the implications of medical racial profiling (i.e. practitioners using race to tailor diagnoses)13, the adverse and uncontrolled use of genetic material, and how our consumption of these genetic knowledges maintain systems of dehumanization and exploitation (e.g. commodified DNA). The density of critical Ethnic studies scholarship, on the racial resurgence within GGS, is woefully superficial. But our complacency jeopardizes the integrity of our agency, origination narratives, her/history, the significations produced about our bodies, and our relationship with hierarchical systems. Regardless of discipline, knowledge is discursive; we must not be threatened by epistemic narcissism. Instead, we must confront ourselves: to what extent will we continue to racialize ourselves


College of Ethnic Studies while consuming the bodies of others?

Suggested Reading Montoya, Michael. Making The Mexican Diabetic: Race, Science, and the Genetics of Inequality. University of California Press, 2011. Obasogie, Osagie. “Playing the Gene Card?” (report published under Center for Genetics and Society) January 28th, 2009. http://www. Roberts, Dorothy. Fatal Invention: How Science, Politics, and Big Business Re-create Race in the Twenty-First Century. New York: The New York Press, 2012. ed. Wailoo, Keith., Nelson, Alondra, and Catherine Lee. Genetics and the Unsettled Past: The Collision of DNA, Race, and History. New Jersey: Rutgers Press, 2012. (Endnotes) 1 This article is an adaptation of the author’s previous work: Diane Nguyen, “Decolonizing My DNA.” MA thesis, San Francisco State University, 2013. 2 Robin Wulffson, M.D., “UCLA Receives 10 Million for Autism Research on African Americans,”, April 03, 2013, 3 Juliana Chan, “Scientists Unravel Kidney Disease Susceptibility Genes in Asian Genomic Study,”, January 04, 2012, 4 Gina Kolata, “In Blacks, Alzheimer’s Study Finds Same Variant Genes as in Whites,”, April 09, 2013, http://www. 5, March 18,2013, deals/ancestryby-dna-1


Graduate Student Journal 6 Michael Montoya, Making the Mexican Diabetic: Race, Science, and the Genetics of Inequality, Berkeley: University of California Press, 2011:300.; Bonham, V.L., E. Warshauer-Baker, and F.S. Collins. 2005, “Race and ethnicity in the genome era: The complexity of the constructs,” in American Psychologist, 60: 9-15, quoted in Peter A. Chow White, “The Informationalization of Race: Communication, Databases, and the Digital Coding of the Genome,” in Genetics and the Unsettled Past, Genetics and the Unsettled Past, ed. Keith Wailoo, et. al, Piscataway: Rutgers University Press, 2012:89. 7 Dorothy Roberts, Fatal Invention, University of California Press, 2012: 69. 8 Ibid7, S233-S245.; Michelle M. Jacob. “Making Sense of Genetics, Culture, and History: A Case Study of a Native Youth Education Program,” in Genetics and the Unsettled Past, 2012:279294. 9 Jenny Reardon, et al., “Your DNA is Our History” in Current Anthropology, 2012: S242. 10 Rebecca Skloot, “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, the Sequel” in New York Times, March 23, 2013. accessed March 30, 2013. Online: 11 Linda Tuhiwai Smith, Decolonizing Methodologies, New York City: St. Martin’s Press, 1999:24. 12 Ibid6 13 Marcy Darnovsky, et al., “Who Should Own DNA? All of Us.”, April 12, 2013. http://www.latimes. com/news/opinion/commentary/la-oe-darnovsky-breast-genespatents-20130412,0,2847752.story


College of Ethnic Studies

Identity and the State: Chinese and Japanese Racialization in America Giselle Dejamco Cunanan

The migration of Chinese and Japanese laborers to America provides examples of racial projects in which race is used as a mechanism of power and control. Omi and Winant define a racial project to be “simultaneously an interpretation, representation, or explanation of racial dynamics, and an effort to reorganize and redistribute resources along particular racial lines” (56.4). A racial project informs individuals about the relationship between racial groups in America and is showcased and enacted in a material form. A racial project is exercised in material form by the racial state through the laws and procedures that transmit the ideological views that come with being of a particular racial group (Omi & Winant 83.1). A group’s identity is developed, maintained, and altered through racial projects giving forth evidence to Omi and Winant’s racial formation theory. By examining the history of Chinese and Japanese in America and their mistreatment as the subordinate population by the racial state, we learn how groups are racialized in America and how their “Oriental” status is reinforced. American Orientalism was constructed and is reproduced by U.S. immigration law in legalizing conceptions of who is “American”


Graduate Student Journal and who is considered a U.S. citizen or an “alien” (Gotanda 130.4). This trajectory of racial politics or “pattern of conflict and accommodation” by the racial state, left Chinese and Japanese Americans to be known as the “Other,” never fitting with the ideal image of who an American is and who an American should be, and forever “strangers” of this land (Gotanda 131.3). The U.S. pushed forth several laws that allowed for the drawing of a “color line” in which defined “American” identity as white (Omi & Winant 66.2). This racial dictatorship used essentialist views, or biological indicators, to divide Chinese and Japanese Americans from the dominant white population. Takaki states that there is a mainstream belief that peoples with Asian ancestries are not fully American (6.1). We can see the racial state perpetuating these beliefs if we dissect the racial projects that were built upon the social construction of race in Chinese and Japanese American history. Chinese Americans were racialized as “the Other” in the midnineteenth century. The Chinese Exclusion Acts serve as examples of racist racial projects because race was used legally as a characteristic to deny certain privileges, white privileges, to the Chinese. In the midst of national unemployment in the pre-World War II era, the Chinese in America were denied the ability to naturalize as U.S. citizens. In addition, Chinese immigration was systematically suspended for ten years in 1882, and was repeatedly extended in 1892 and 1902. “The exclusionists warned that the presence of an ‘industrial army of Asiatic laborers’ was exacerbating the class conflict between white labor and white capital” (Takaki 111.2). The legalization of this racial project displays efforts to protect a threatened class of white workers. Omi and Winant state, “a racial project can be defined as racist if and only if it creates or reproduces structures of domination based on essentialist categories of race” (71.5). Congress employed an essentialist view of race when signing the Chinese Exclusion Laws into act; they used innate characteristics of race, like skin color and other physical attributes, as indicators to constitute who was worthy of an American life. This racist racial project did, in fact, reproduce a structure of white dominance by allowing whites the power to vote and own land in the United States


College of Ethnic Studies while simultaneously denying these American privileges, or rather white privileges, to the Chinese. Because these laws were signed into Congress, the state’s political agenda institutionalized racism and constructed the racial formation of American society as a whole. For Japanese Americans, Alien Land Laws of 1920 prohibited “aliens ineligible to citizenship” from leasing land and also restricted native-born minors from owning land or holding stock in any corporation owning real property (Takaki 205.3). This racist racial project takes its material form in law and supports Antonio Gramsci’s explanation of hegemonic forces in the United States, as analyzed Stuart Hall. Hegemony is exercised by the racial state by the ethical and intellectual leadership in control (Hall 426.2). “It is only under those conditions that some long-term history ‘project’ can be effectively put on the historical agenda” (Hall 426.2). The racial state acted upon its racial agenda by denying the Japanese the ability to become U.S. citizens. They gave Japanese Americans a “death sentence” by denying them the opportunity to cultivate land to save money, and eventually own property in hopes of becoming a U.S. citizens (Takaki 206.4). Their racial identity is constructed by the racial state. They were outcast as unwanted strangers in America. The process of racialization and reinforcement of one’s identity transforms as Chinese and Japanese children are born in the United States and grow up to lead challenging lives. Chinese and Japanese immigrants plant their families in America, growing older while working in the U.S., thus changing their conceptualization of where is home. Chinese and Japanese parents assimilate in America and no longer consider themselves sojourners, or temporary workers in the United States. Their children amazingly construct and defend their American identity when they challenge inequality. The term “racism” is developed in the 1960s and takes charge in a combination of prejudice, discrimination, and institutional inequality (Takaki 69.3). The fourth or fifth generation of Chinese and Japanese Americans combat racism with acts of resistance and find their power and community in ethnic solidarity. Non-racist racial projects for the Japanese take form in ethnic


Graduate Student Journal enterprise. They form communities that rely on each other for income, building their own capitalistic colony, but also supplying food and agriculture for the dominant white majority. They turn agricultural land into lush and profitable areas (Takaki 191.3). This is considered a non-racist racial project because those of Japanese descent use their shared identity as countrymen and common cultural values to build a capitalistic colony based on their group difference as Asian Americans (Takaki 180.2). This did, in fact, contribute to their reinforced identity as “the Other.” Their ethnic solidarity also reinforced their condition as “strangers” and they continued to be victims of hostile claims because of their unassimilability, but the ethnic enterprise provided Japanese Americans with a means for survival (Takaki 180.2). Japanese Americans united despite intragroup differences and developed projects that specifically related to the needs of the community. This led to the activist spirit of the Nisei, or second generation, who were often legally excluded because of their ethnicity. Anti-racist racial projects emerged in the Great Transformation period from the 1920’s to the 1960’s and contributed to the uprise of the Civil Rights movement. The Nisei generation had a great ability to bring about social change for the Japanese community because they were born, raised, and educated in the United States, which gave them the power to vote and protect their rights as U.S. citizens (Takaki 221.2). Omi and Winant state, “Once an oppositional racial ideology has been articulated, once the dominant racial ideology has been confronted, it becomes possible to demand reform of state racial policies and institutions” (91.2). In the 1930’s, the Nisei generation organized the JapaneseAmerican Democratic Clubs and sought equal rights in employment, housing, and civil liberties for racial minorities in California (Takaki 221.2). They demanded higher wages and improved working conditions; they “redistributed resources along racial lines” and successfully partook in an anti-racist racial project that aimed for racial equality. Competing racial projects since the 1970’s contribute to today’s racial democracy. Although racial identities are more pronounced today because of ethnic difference, race is undeniably central in U.S. politics.


College of Ethnic Studies Race is a “region” of hegemony, or an area in which political projects take shape (Omi & Winant 68.4). Omi and Winant centralize race in racial formation theory and the State materializes racial ideologies with implicit racist policies embedded in our institutions today. For example, public intellectual Nathan Glazer criticized affirmative action policies and stated that such policies accommodated group differences (Glazer 14.5). He successfully mobilized efforts, or racial projects, to revoke affirmative actions politics in denying ethnic exclusivity. He takes a reductionist approach and fails to recognize groups that have been pushed to an inferior and subordinate status by the racial state, and disregards America’s racial history. In response to Glazer’s article, Ron Takaki states that the racial formation of America is constantly at a “tug-of-war” with racist racial projects and anti-racist racial projects that compete to make up the hegemonic state of our country today. Many subscribe to the notion that race is no longer an important issue in today’s society because we live in a “melting pot,” but race continues to be the leading characteristic of actions put on by the racial state. Thus, since race is a social construction, hegemony is constantly being transformed (Omi & Winant 55.1). The trajectory of racial politics lies in the State’s ability and power to maintain the hegemony of whiteness. We have competing racial projects that aim to protect who is privileged to be American, which ranges from the banning of Ethnic Studies departments in Arizona, to defining who is American when determining which immigrants can receive financial aid to attend college. The American privilege to become a U.S. citizen is protected, deemed sacred, and nearly sanctified. This privilege is racially defined with whites at full advantage of receiving these privileges. The power to protect and maintain these privileges is for white Americans only. Omi and Winant fail to explicitly state that defining who is American is largely a racial project. The commitments to liberty, equality, and freedom are guised and masked in our “post-racial society.” The problem comes forth to those who are unable to decipher whether a racial project is racist or anti-racist. They leave it to us to define who is American as we participate in racial projects.


Graduate Student Journal WORKS CITED Glazer, Nathan. “The Emergence of an American Ethnic Pattern.” In From Different Shores: Perspectives on Race and Ethnicity in America, edit. Ronald Takaki. NY: Oxford University Press, 1987. Gotanda, Neil. “Exclusion and Inclusion: Immigration and American Orientalism.” In Across the Pacific: Asian Americans and Globalization, edit. by Evelyn Hu-DeHart. Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1999. Hall, Stuart (1986). “Gramsci’s Relevance for the Study of Race and Ethnicity.” In Stuart Hall: Critical Dialogues in Cultural Studies, edit. by David Morley and Kuan-Hsing Chen. New York: Routledge, 1996. Omi, Michael, and Howard Winant. Racial Formation in the United States: From the 1960s to the 1990s. 2nd ed. New York: Routledge, 1994. Print. Takaki, Ronald. A History of Asian Americans: Strangers from a Different Shore. New York: Back Bay : Little Brown and, 1998. Print. Takaki, Ronald. “Reflections on Racial Patterns in America.” In From Different Shores: Perspectives on Race and Ethnicity in America, edit. Ronald Takaki. NY: Oxford University Press, 1987.


College of Ethnic Studies



Graduate Student Journal

Embracing the Serpent: Towards a New Xicana Spirituality Yolanda Rodriguez

…I’m not sure where I found the strength to leave the source, the mother, disengage from my family, mi tierra, mi gente, and all that picture stood for. I had to leave home so I could find myself, find my own intrinsic nature buried under the personality that had been imposed on me. —Gloria Anzaldúa From the moment I was born female to a traditional Mexican family, I was assigned a role to play. My mother tried her best to make sure her daughters would become “good women” by following the “good” path and playing her assigned role which included going to church on Sundays. Growing up Catholic, there was a certain kind of behavior expected of me. Moving to Berkeley at the age of seventeen, was an event that was particularly life changing because it was this moment that awakened my awareness of the ways in which gender and culture marked my life. Moving away from home provided me with the space to learn more about myself through different ideas and experiences I was exposed to. Through my exposure to Chicana Feminism, I was


College of Ethnic Studies introduced to writings on the spiritual from Sandra Cisneros, Gloria Anzaldúa, and Theresa Delgadillo. These women became the guides in my process of growing up and awakening consciousness. Theresa Delgadillo discusses ongoing Chicana negotiations of Catholicism through her experience as Chicana, feminist, and Catholic. Sandra Cisneros describes her reinterpretation of the Virgen of Guadalupe as “Guadalupe the Sex Goddess” in an effort to reclaim herself and her reality. Gloria Anzaldúa theorizes “entering the serpent” as her acknowledgement of her own body and the relation with Coatlalopeuh as the connection to Indian ancestry. Using the writings by Cisneros, Anzaldúa, and Delgadillo, I would like to trace my process of negotiating Catholicism in the creation of what I see as a Xicana spirituality through the reclamation and redefinition of the serpent. In “Race, Sex, and Spirit: Chicana Negotiations of Catholicism” Theresa Delgadillo begins with experience in the classroom after discussing relationships to religion, particularly catholicism. She discusses the process of negotiating Catholicism in relation to nation, race, and gender. Delgadillo remembers an acquaintance stating “those cunning Spaniards” in response to a Virgen de Guadalupe shrine (244). Delgadillo responds with “Why do we assume Spain made up the story?” (245). She then goes on to discuss the complicated relationship with the spiritual that Chicana/os have. Delgadillo describes the her Catholic church as “both a spiritual and a social center for a Mexicana/o and Chicana/o working-class community...” (245). Though some sermons in church addressed social justice issues, Delgadillo became involved with feminist activism outside the church (246). The bridging of the activism in the church with activism outside of church solidified for Delgadillo the potential power for social justice in the community. Delgadillo then describes Cherrie Moraga’s and Lara Medina’s choice of distance from the Catholic Church and connects this to her own experience choosing to attend mass only for particular reasons. She closes the article pointing out the negotiations that Chicanas are still facing asking whether there is still potential for “making Catholicism more and inclusive and feminist” (Delgadillo 249).


Graduate Student Journal In “Guadalupe The Sex Goddess: Unearthing the Racy Past of Mexico’s Most Famous Virgin,” Sandra Cisneros begins describing her own experience growing up and the discomfort she felt around her body and sexuality. Cisneros focuses on her discomfort with the traditional representation of the Virgen of Guadalupe as desexualized and the expectation of Latino cultures that women live up to the same expectations. Cisneros describes her reinterpretation of the Virgen of Guadalupe as “Guadalupe the Sex Goddess” in an effort to reclaim herself and her reality. She recognizes La Lupe, Tonantzin, Tlazolteotl, and Coatlicue in herself which is what lead her to accept them. La Lupe is “a face for a god without a face, an indigena for a god without ethnicity, a female deity for a god who is genderless” (Cisneros 46). Aside from her reconceptualization of the Virgen of Guadalupe as a woman like herself, Cisneros also discusses other influences such as Gloria Anzaldúa’s and Thich Nhat Han’s writings. Gloria Anzaldúa begins the section “Entering Into the Serpent” from Borderlands, with a memory of being bitten by a snake and reflects on how this experience affected the way she views snakes. She describes the process of entering into the serpent as her acknowledgement “that I have a body, that I am a body” (Anzaldúa 48). Anzaldúa then makes the connection between la Virgen de Guadalupe and Coatlalopeuh as descendants of Mesoamerican goddesses Coatlicue, Coyolxauhqui, and Cihuacoatl. She argues that Tonantsi/Guadalupe became a desexualized figure once Coatlalopeuh was separated from her (Anzaldúa 49). Here Anzaldúa equates the serpent with sexuality, two things that have become associated with the dark feminine. This lead to the creation of the virgin/ whore dichotomy where the Virgen de Guadalupe stands on one side and Tlazolteotl/Coatlicue on the other (Anzaldúa 50). When speaking of Coatlalopeuh, Anzaldúa writes: “She, the symbol of the dark sexual drive, the chthonic (underworld), the feminine, the serpentine movement of sexuality, of creativity, the basis of all energy and life” (57). By recognizing Coatlalopeuh in the Virgen de Guadalupe, Anzaldúa seeks to consolidate the split and eliminate the virgin/whore dichotomy in order to have a holistic view of the spiritual that does not separate the body


College of Ethnic Studies and sexuality. Cisneros, Anzaldúa, and Delgadillo, all went through a process of negotiation with cultural aspects of Catholicism in order to define their relationship to the spiritual. In my process of negotiating Catholicism in the creation of what I call a Xicana spirituality, I focus on the negotiation of Catholicism as discussed by Delgadillo, the reclamation and redefinition of the serpent discussed by Anzaldúa and connect this to Cisneros’ recognition of the self as divine. And if going home is denied me then I will have to stand and claim my space, making a new culture—una cultura mestiza—with my own lumber, my own bricks and mortar and my own feminist architecture. —Anzaldúa At seventeen years old, I moved to Berkeley from Los Angeles to go to college. In my family there was a mixture of emotions and reactions to the news; although my mother understood that education was very important she feared what my extended relatives might think. “Good girls do not leave home without a husband,” my extended relatives could not understand how my parents would allow me, a mujer, to leave home without first being married. I could hear my mother’s voice in my head, the first time I found myself alone in my dorm room with a male friend. Though the interaction was completely innocent, I could hear my mother’s voice saying “you shouldn’t be alone with a boy in your room with the door shut!” Though I was far away from home, I felt the weight of what a “good girl” should behave like. It was during my first semester in college, that a friend introduced me to Sandra Cisneros’ article “Guadalupe the Sex Goddess.” We took turns reading this incredibly radical piece of writing--we had both been raised in Catholic families--and so the way Cisneros wrote about the Virgen de Guadalupe was shocking. I found the article to be wonderfully exciting. I remember thinking “did she really just say ‘La Lupe es cabrona.’?!” At seventeen years old, I decided that Cisneros made much more sense in her perception of the Virgen de Guadalupe than the unreal conception of


Graduate Student Journal her that years of catechism tried to get me to believe. I took a Female Sexuality course that opened my eyes to many things I did not know about and completely changed my views of myself, women, and other issues women face that had never before been exposed to me because in my culture these types of things we do not speak of. In the words of Sandra Cisneros, “In guise of modesty my culture locked me in a double chastity belt of ignorance and verguenza, shame” (44). With these new ideas and experiences I was able to see the world from outside of the viewpoint dominated by the “virgin/whore dichotomy.” My first year in college, I also met Celia Herrera Rodríguez. I was living in the Chicana/o Latina/o Theme Program, Casa Magdalena Mora and Celia was invited to give a talk. I remember not knowing who she was or what her talk would be about. She set up the room by laying traditional Mexican blankets on the ground and brought some traditional foods such as dried fruit and corn. Celia spoke of the importance of remembering what we were not supposed to remember, all associated with our Indian ancestry. She began by asking us to leave our chairs and sit on the blankets that were laid out on the ground. I do not remember much of what she spoke about, because I found myself confused as to what was going on since this seemed unlike any other lectures or talks I had attended in school. Celia closed the talk by sharing some of the traditional foods. Though I did not understand much of what was going on, I became interested in Celia’s message of remembering what our bodies knew, that we might not know we know. A little after this, I was introduced to Gloria Anzaldúa’s Borderlands. I first read it when I was eighteen years old and though I did not understand all of it, it helped me realize the importance of developing la facultad. I became aware of my hunger for the spiritual. Though I had grown up with a connection to the Virgen de Guadalupe, what I was learning helped me to reconceptualize who she was and what she meant to me. When I constructed my very first altar, my image of the Virgen de Guadalupe was at the center. The image of La Virgen de Guadalupe is made up of many details that could be interpreted as codes. According to Ana Castillo, La Virgen is wearing a “fertility


College of Ethnic Studies sash” and below it lays a symbol of a nagvioli flower, which was said to represent Huitzilopochtli, the son of Coatlicue. La Virgen is then said to be Coatlicue (Castillo xix). In the image we see a darker-skinned female, which is different from the usual representations in Christianity. I came to recognize and appreciate these features in La Virgen, features that my mother had never thought about. On a visit home once, I had Alma Lopez’ “Our Lady” on the desktop background of my computer. My mother saw and completely freaked out asking whether this meant I was now a member of a different church. As the years passed, I collected bits and pieces from different places. I began reading Buddhist texts and finding parallels. I chose to adopt some meditation practices. Through friends involved in Aztec danza, I was introduced to Mexica ceremonies and the temascal or sweat lodge. I also came into contact with the Maya community in San Francisco; traditional Maya ceremonies are still held today in San Francisco. Over the years I have been able to build my own spirituality “with my own lumber, my own bricks and mortar and my own feminist architecture” (Anzaldúa 44). Though I do not go to church, I have been able to negotiate part of the Catholic church and its influence in my life. La Virgen de Guadalupe remains at the center of my altar at home, though she is accompanied by Coatlicue, Coyolxauhqui, and Tlazolteotl. Like Delgadillo, I recognize the value of the influence the Catholic church has on culture. Religious ceremonies like baptisms and first communions all serve to bring families and communities together. Like Cisneros, I was able to recognize the self as divine. I was able to redefine and reconceptualize what these female figures mean to me. Like Anzaldúa, I was able to reclaim the serpent, by healing the splits between spirituality, the body, and sexuality. By recognizing the hidden Indian ancestry and imposed splits between the mind, body, spirit and sexuality and how these splits affect my experience I am able to actively work against them. Being raised in that traditional Mexican family, new ideas, and experiences along the way all had a big impact in the making of the mujer I am and the spirituality I practice. Without these I would be a different person today because all my experiences have shaped me


Graduate Student Journal in some way. Being open to change, redefining and reclaiming can ultimately help lead us to find what Rosario Castellanos is searching for when she says: “Debe haber otro modo...otro modo de ser humano y libre...otro modo de ser.”1

Works Cited Anzaldúa, Gloria. Borderlands, La Frontera: The New Mestiza. San Francisco: Aunt Lute, 1987. Print. Castellanos, Rosario, and Magda Bogin. The Selected Poems of Rosario Castellanos. Saint Paul, MN: Graywolf, 1988. Print. Castillo, Ana, ed. Goddess of the Americas: Writings on the Virgin of Guadalupe. New York: Riverhead, 1996. Print. Delgadillo, Theresa. “Race, Sex, and Spirit: Chicana Negotiations of Catholicism.” Reconciling Catholicism and Feminism?: Personal Reflections on Tradition and Change. Ed. Sally Barr. Ebest and Ron Ebest. Notre Dame, Ind: University of Notre Dame, 2003. 242-50. Print.

1 Quote taken from Rosario Castellanos’ poem “Meditación en el umbral”


College of Ethnic Studies

Mamatiak... I Believe (Personal Anthem) Steve Ryan Badua

Mamatiak nga awan kasla kaniak iti ditoy a lubong. Mamatiak nga ado ti pagpilian ken awan ti ibabauik. Mamatiak a maadalko ti nasayaat taga po ti narigat a napaspasamak iti biagko. Mamatiak a nasayaat dagiti aldaw, amin nga aldaw, kada aldaw ken ado dagiti panawen ti pagyamanko. I believe that thereâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s no one like me in this world. I believe that I have a lot of choices and nothing to regret. I believe I can learn the good from the bad times in my life. I believe that days are good, all day, everyday and there is much to be grateful for.


Graduate Student Journal

Collaborative Mediums

Rafael Moreno and Natalia Sanchez Gonzalez

I am currently a first year grad student in Ethnic Studies at SFSU. I also attended SFSU for my undergrad in Raza Studies and American Indian Studies; while on campus I’ve been involved in MEChA and SKINS. Besides my on campus activism and community work, I have been involved in many community organization of the San Francisco Mission district. My politics and art has stemmed from being born and raised within the Mission; without this upbringing, my view on everything would be changed. Art mediums I practice go from acrylic painting, stenciling, graf, silk screening, jewelry making, and creative writing. Natalia and I have been doing collaborative pieces for some time now; we both learned silk screening at the same time from the same Organization. We learned our techniques from an organization we used to be involved in called, Homies Organizing the Mission to Empower youth (H.O.M.E.Y.). We created the image of a fist punching out of the state of Arizona while crumpling up the actual legal document SB 1070. The first also has a tattoo saying “Cali.” The purposes of these small symbols was to show the solidarity us Chicanos and progressive folks


College of Ethnic Studies in California have with the people in Arizona going to be negatively effected by this racist law. The image was printed on a bandana as, Natalia and I created this image to be sent out to Arizona for one of the many protest out there. We could not be there physically, but by creating art work founded within resistance, was an opportunity for us to support the movement. We say no to these types of legislation, they are racist, harmful, and separate families; FUCK SB1070.


Graduate Student Journal

Birth and Bumper Cars Christopher Roberts

Collision is where we are first conceived. We literally explode into existence. We are the result of movement and contact. We are the result of something that was, transforming into something that is. That said, I hope this thesis is something that will move you. Something that will shake your spirit. Something that will remind you of the creation that happens when there is contact. This contact does not always produce creations that are neat, predictable, or nice. Sometimes, the things we create are uncomfortable on purpose. In her poem, The Craft, the Kenyan born Somali poet Warsan Shire (2012) writes the first line of a poem should usher you in, a door half open, a warm glow, an empty seat, the last line should punch you in the stomach Nestled neatly between these sheets of paper and ink are exposed land mines. Carefully constructed cartographies of healing and violence waiting to detonate upon impact, blowing up every preconception you had about what explosions felt like. Seductively scorching themselves


College of Ethnic Studies to the face of your soul like smiles drenched in cyanide. The architects of these weapons of mass decolonization are Black youth who have made suicide bombers out of the holograms many of our theories and intellectual discourses have made them out to be. Warsan Shire entitled her first book Teaching My Mother How To Give Birth. In many ways, this research project is similar, in that it is an effort to learn from the participating youth not about whom we have given birth to and named as “them” but rather the “them” that is created from the explosion that happens when there is collision and they birth themselves. As an artist I have seen first hand the potential in what Aime Cesaire called poetic knowledge. Poetic knowledge is “knowledge that, for a moment, allows us to transcend the immediate everyday realities that confine our capacity to dream, imagine, and hope… an emancipation of language and old ways of thinking” (Ginwright 2008, 124). For all of the things I have been afforded by being a poet, the most powerful thing is probably the most simple. Poetry has opened up doors for me that I never thought possible. In a society that is predicated on defining people by what it thinks you should do or not do, should say or not say, should dream or not dream; poetry is a space where the only thing you really should do is who you are. Hiphop and poetry forge visceral connections. It is in these spaces we touch through the exchange of vibrating energy and sound. It is in these spaces we channel DuBois, where we remove the veil, where we rewrite the vows we have made with ourselves. It is in this space where we see that we are inextricably linked, the me in you, the you in me, the us that is humanity, Africana-Identified people in particular. The youth in the present study do not exist or fit nicely into one or two theoretical frameworks, it is in their lives and stories, trauma and healing that we find the points of impact where theories crash like bumper cars. When pen collides with paper, we create who we are and who we are becoming: ink explosions of self. Black marks flying across white paper hoping to land in the mouths of someone who can speak their truth. I know why the caged bird sings… because she is Black like me.


Graduate Student Journal This research project is an unyielding attempt to listen, to lead by learning from those who have been told they have nothing to teach. I have sought here to co-create space, peace, love, and community with those who remind me of friends I’ve buried in the ground. I implore you to allow yourself to have contact with and be touched by youth, who are the collision. The focus of this research is on Black youth who reside in Stockton, Oakland, and Richmond, California. The primary research question of this work was “How (if at all) Hiphop youth participatory action research (YPAR) with youth/scholars/allies aged 13-19 move toward healing and emancipation from violence as they define it?” The results of this project have been new understandings of cultural products as poetic knowledge moving toward healing from violence. These theoretical “innervisions” were youth articulated and speak to the multiple collisions that youth lived experience embodies. Lastly, this project, in conjunction with youth participants, has created definitions of how Africana-identified youth who reside in the Northern California Bay Area ideate, see themselves and the world around them, as agent(s) of violence and healing. This work makes the argument that violence occurs in four primary forms, with overlap in many cases. The four forms of violence are interpersonal, hegemonic, institutional, and intergenerational trauma. To address how the aforementioned overlap I use an operational theoretical model that actively engages violence and healing. Youth are the collision. This discursive and practical concept is pushed forth throughout this research. This work presents a “Four Corners of Collision” model. The “Four Corners of Collision” model has four columns, each column corresponding to a form of violence, and five rows, each row corresponding to a paradigm and/or theoretical framework conducive to healing the form of violence in the column above. This collision, in theory, will result in a more efficient and holistic healing process. I argue that this model is an effective model for conducting emancipatory research on violence and healing. Emancipatory Research is research that is “unapologetically engaged and committed to distribution of power


College of Ethnic Studies in order to improve the quality of life for marginalized communities… requires us to move beyond our universities and professional associations… yields poetic knowledge (Ginwright 2008, 16). The Four Corners of Collision Model manifested within Emancipatory Research contributes to research models currently in the field of Ethnic Studies. The Four Corners of Collision model builds off of, and is informed by, Patricia Hill-Collins’ Matrix of Domination. The Matrix of Domination “refers to how intersecting oppressions are actually organized [hence differentiating it from intersectionality (Crenshaw 1991, 12)]. Regardless of the particular intersections involved structural, disciplinary, hegemonic, and interpersonal domains of power reappear across different forms of oppression” (Collins 1990, 18). Thus, the Matrix of Domination houses a comprehensive understanding of intersecting oppressions such as those based on race, class, gender, and sexuality relative to origin, development, and containment (Collins 1990, 228). The Four Corners of Collision model speaks to what Patricia Hill-Collins in Black Feminist Thought calls the “subjugated knowledges” of these groups, but beyond that, it uses understandings of both violence and healing as a way to move toward liberation and conduct emancipatory research. Subjugated knowledges can be understood as the suppressed knowledges and intellectual traditions of marginalized and oppressed groups within a white supremacist society, specifically for Collins the knowledges and traditions of Black women (Collins 1990, 13). In accordance with YPAR “Four Corners of Collision” began as an operational model. This model is specified through the mixed-method approach to research undertaken in this project. These elements not only affect youth of the African Diaspora in their current reality, but also when engaged, defined, and observed from a Eurocentric perspective the minds and freedom of those young people is perpetually suppressed and therefore jeopardizes their futures. In working with Africana-Identified people when the types of violence addressed in the “Four Corners of Collision” model are engaged, defined, and observed from a Eurocentric perspective, this perpetually colonizes the lives of the people; therefore


Graduate Student Journal jeopardizing their futures. By moving beyond theory that places primacy on explaining phenomena, to a theoretical praxis that moves towards articulation and liberation by those experiencing the phenomena this research speaks to the collision that is the human experience. In the case of this research, specifically the Africana-identified youth are the collision. These youth do not exist or fit nicely into one or two theoretical frameworks, it is in their lives and stories and trauma that we find the points of impact where theories crash like bumper cars. Much of the present scholarship in the field that looks at art healing and therapy is not longitudinal and it focuses primarily on temporal individual change whereas the present research project is explicitly engaging in emancipatory research. If we want to arrive at decolonized answers we must first decolonize the way we ask questions. Therefore, the present research project sought to produce â&#x20AC;&#x153;youth articulatedâ&#x20AC;? theory that would collide and crash together contemporary theories used to explain the phenomena of violence in the lives of Africana-Identified youth. This project strives to create something new, something liberatory, something transformative in Ethnic Studies. Given the unique historical and contemporary experience of Africana-Identified people across the globe, and more specifically in the Northern California area this research was structured in a manner that was culturally relevant to the youth participants. Instead of defining the struggle for young people, YPAR was engaged so that youth researchers were able to explain how both peace and violence manifest in their lives and communities. Scholars of YPAR view its purpose as a cocreative process that de-centers the researcher and values community members as equitable partners in the research endeavor. Its utility lies with its liberatory principles of agency, equity, and self- determination as effective media for liberation and healing. In the present research project Hiphop and poetry were engaged as the cultural forms through which youth agentic voice and expression can be conveyed. In order to have a holistic and expansive engagement of violence and healing this research project was intersectional (analyzing race, class, gender, sexual orientation, in addition to other identities) in


College of Ethnic Studies both its design and implementation. It was the purpose of this research to push beyond traditional academic explanations of phenomena and move to a theoretical construction process more wedded to the realities and experiences of Africana-Identified youth. The present research project presents the case for collision by embracing what Linda Tuhiwai Smith calls “testimony” in Decolonizing Methodologies. By facilitating space for youth to testify about their truth and their trauma, we were able to truly begin the processes of creating poetic knowledge and healing the multiple types of violence and trauma that these youth experience. This research utilized mixed methods and used five methods over the duration of the project. Youth Participatory Action Research (YPAR) is the method that was used for the crux of the present research project which was the five week workshop series where youth met weekly and co-created definitions and visions of violence and healing for the purpose of transformative and emancipatory change in themselves, and their communities. In these workshops Variable Coding the use of artist and scholar Kariamu Welsh’s Nzuri Aesthetic Model was implemented as an aspect of YPAR. Variable coding is defined as “coding generated by prior theory [in this case] the codes [are] suggested by theory in the form of variables” (Babbie 2012, p. 397). The workshop series as a research project was designed to follow Extended Case Method. Extended Case Method “deploys participant observation to locate everyday life in its extralocal and historical contexts” (Burawoy 1998, 1). Each of the workshop sessions was then documented in the form of field notes emphasizing a technique called autoethnographic reflection. Autoethnograhic Reflection is “an expression of mediated identities and societal commentary as part of a collective voice offered through the collaborative analysis of collected materials” (Fischer 2007, 191). Audio-recorded interviews were conducted with participants, as they were available to participate in them. This interview was called the “Youth Efficacy Afrocentric Healing” Interview (Y.E.A.H.) . This interview was given during the initial weeks of the workshop series. It is the hope of the primary researcher that, Y.E.A.H., or a data collection method similar to it capturing the development of healing and agency,


Graduate Student Journal will be made available to the youth participants involved in this research study during the January and July of each subsequent year until 2016 to collect data in a longitudinal format. In addition to Y.E.A.H. there was a questionnaire, The Youth Input Document, given to the youth participants on the first day of the workshop. This was done to catalog their interests with regards to art, culture, technology, and media to ensure that workshop construction would be connected to their passions. This essay introduces the problem that my comprehensive thesis work entitled So After All My Logic And My Theory: Emancipatory Poetic Hiphop Research sought to address. It is a snapshot of the theoretical, methodological, and conceptual understandings that brought together by within that text. The following two paragraphs provides a synopsis of the chapters contained within my larger So After All My Logic And My Theory: Emancipatory Poetic Hiphop Research text. In Chapter 2, “After My Logic and My Theory” I review the contemporary literature within Ethnic Studies, Africana Studies and an array of other disciplines that addresses and is authored from the epicenter of the themes of Healing, Violence/Trauma, YPAR, Hiphop, Black Feminism and Womanism, Queer Theory and Sexuality, as well as Afrocentricity. Each theme is then extrapolated and intertwined to more accurately speak to the web of the Black youth experience. In Chapter 3, “Build Your Own Pyramids, Write your Own Hieroglyphs” the mixed methods of inquiry and the methodology(ies) behind each method are explored and given context relative to their projected resonance and efficiency to facilitate and create healing in emancipatory spaces. Chapter 4, “A Poem Is Never Finished” chronicles the workshop sessions through the experiences of youth participants as seen through our collective eyes. Chapter 5 Part 1, “I’m Inspired So Get Inspired”, and Chapter 5 Part 2, “Am I Worth It? Did I Put Enough Work in?” are the spaces where the workshop field notes and interview responses are explored and connected with the idea of collision that is mentioned previously throughout the text. In Chapter 6, “Life Is A Poem,” I reflect on the experience of this research project as well as share the extent to which there were shortcomings and/or limitations.


College of Ethnic Studies In this universe we all find ourselves drifting in dark matter. It just so happens that the darker you are, the more it matters. Bound and bonded by Blackness. There is perseverance in our pores, muscle memory in our melanin. In the cookbook of our creator lie the ingredients of existence. Throughout life we are all created and recreated by others attempting to perfect that recipe of creation. Audre Lorde (1978) writes

From The House of Yemanja My mother had two faces and a frying pot Where she cooked up her daughters Into girls Before she fixed our dinner My mother had two faces And a broken pot Where she hid out a perfect daughter Who was not me

I am the sun and the moon and forever hungry in her eyes I bear two women upon my back One dark and rich and hidden In the ivory towers of the other Mother Pale as a witch Yet steady and familiar Brings me bread and terror In my sleep Her breasts are huge exciting anchors in the midnight storm.

All this has been Before In my motherâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s bed Time has no sense I have no brothers and my sisters are cruel


Graduate Student Journal Mother I need Mother I need Mother I need your blackness now as the august earth needs rain.

I am The sun and moon forever hungry The sharpened edge Where day and night shall meet And not be One

Lorde’s expression of existing as inadequate and insufficient in the eyes of her mother illuminates the depths and severity of the trauma that is present in our communities. The pain of being cooked in a kitchen with ingredients that are not really your own is what we see in Lorde’s reflection throughout this piece. Until we shift our paradigms we will continue to be the culinary products of circumstance; the result of others attempting to cook us up with their own recipes of creation.

References Adeleke, Tunde. 2000. Pan Africanism: Exploring The Contradictions. The International Journal of African Historical Studies. Boston University. Akom, A.A. Critical Hip Hop Pedagogy As A Form of Liberatory Praxis. Equity and Excellence in Education. 2009. Akom, Cammarota, Ginwright. 2008. Youthtopias: Towards a New Paradigm of Critical Youth Studies. Youth Media Reporter. Arnfred, Signe, Ogunyemi, Okonjo, and Mary Kolawole. 2005. Rethinking Sexualities in America. Nordiska Afrikainstitutet. Uppsala, Sweden Asante, M.K. 2005. It’s Bigger Than Hip Hop. St. Martin’s Press. New


College of Ethnic Studies York, NY. Asante, Molefi. The Afrocentric Paradigm. 2003. Journal of Black Studies. Temple University Press. Philadelphia, PA AnzaldĂşa ,Gloria and CherrĂ­e Moraga. 1983. This Bridge Called My Back: Writings by Radical Women of Color. New York: Kitchen Table, Women of Color. Cesaire, Aime. 1945. Poetry and Knowledge. Clay, Andreanna. 2003. Keepin It Real: Black Youth, hip-hop culture, and black identity. Crenshaw, Kimberle Williams. 2001. Mapping The Margins: Intersectionality, Identity, Politics, and Violence Against Women of Color. Stanford Law Review, Vol. 43, No. 6. Collins, Patricia Hill. 1990. The social construction of Black feminist thought. In Norment, N. (Ed.), The African American Studies Reader. Durham, NC: Carolina Academic Press. Duran, Eduardo. 2006. Healing The Soul Wound. Teachers College Press. New York, NY. Dyson, Michael E. 2007. Know What I Mean: Reflections on Hip Hop. New York, NY: Basic Civitas, Gabbidon and Peterson. 2006. Living While Black: A State-Level Analysis of the Influence of Select Social Stressors on the Quality of Life among Black Americans. Journal of Black Studies, Vol. 37, No. 1 Gramsci, Anthony.1927. Prison Papers Fine, Michelle and Julio Cammarota. 2010. Revolutionizing education: youth participatory action research in motion. Gateways: International Journal of Community Research & Engagement. Ann Arbor, MI. Fischer, Dawn Elissa. 2012. Hip Hop Through A Womanist Lens. The Western Journal of Africana Studies. Freire, Paulo. 1972 The Pedagogy of the Oppressed. [S.l.]: Penguin Education. Ginwright, Shawn. 2010. Peace Out to Revolution! Activism Among African-American Youth: A Case for Radical Healing. SAGE


Graduate Student Journal Publications. Los Angeles, CA. Gomez, Michael. 2004. Of DuBois and Diaspora. Journal of Black Studies. Vol. 35 No. 2. Green, G T Eva. 2006. Symbolic Racism and Whites’ Attitudes towards Punitive and Preventive Crime Policies. Law and Human Behavior, Vol. 30, No. 4 pp. 435-454. Harrell, P Jules. 2003. Psychological Responses to Racism and Discrimination: an assessment of the evidence. The American Journal of Public Health. Vol. 93 No. 2. Incite. 2007. INCITE! 3rd Color of Violence Conference. Kambon, Kobi. 1991. The Worldviews Paradigm as the Conceptual Framework for African/Black Psychology in Black Psychology, ed. Reginald Jones. Hampton: Cobb & Henry Publisher. p. 73-92. Karenga, Maulana. 2004. Maat, The Moral ideal in ancient Egypt: a study in classical African ethics. New York: Routledge Lane, Nikki. 2011. Black Women Queering The Mic: Missy Elliot Disturbing the Boundaries of Racialized gender and Sexuality. The Journal of Homosexuality. Lewis, Mel Michelle. 2011. Body of Knowledge: Black Queer Feminist Pedagogy, Praxis, and Embodied Text. Journal of Lesbian Studies. Routledge Taylor and Francis Group. Lewis, Sydney. 2012. Looking Forward to the Past: Black Women’s Sexual Agency in ‘Neo’ Cultural Productions. University of Washington. Lowe, Lisa. 1990. Heterogeneity, Hybridity, Multiplicity. McIntyre, Alice. 2000. Constructing Meaning About Violence, School, and Community: Participatory Action Research with Urban Youth. Urban Review. Morgan, Marcyliena. 2006. Hip-Hop Women Shredding The Veil: Race and Class In Popular Feminist Identity. Harvard University. Myers, LJ. 2001. The Deep Structure of Culture: Relevance of Traditional African Culture in Contemporary Life. Neal, Larry. 1968. The Black Arts Movement.


College of Ethnic Studies Pellerin, Marquita. 2012. Afrocentric Methodology. The Journal of PanAfrican Studies. Vol. 4. No. 5. p. 149-160. Phillips, Layli. 2008. I Am Just So Glad You Are Alive. Journal of African American Studies. Vol. 12. No. 4. p. 378-400. Phillips, Layli. 2006. The Womanist reader. New York: Routledge. Phillips, Layli. Reddick Morgan and Stephens. 2004. Oppositional Consciousness Within An Oppositional Realm: The Case For Feminism and Womanism in Hip-Hop. The Journal of AfricanAmerican History. Renee, Elisha. 2011. Review of Bodies, Politics, and African Healing: The Matter of Maladies in Tanzania. University of Michigan. Rose, Tricia. 2003. Black Noise: Rap Music and Black Culture in Contemporary America. Wesleyan University Press. Middletown, CT. Spencer, Dupree, Cunningham, Harpalani, Munoz-Miller. 2003. Vulnerability to Violence: A Contextually-Sensitive, Developmental Perspective on African American Adolescent. Spencer Margaret, Fegley Suzanne, Harpalani Vinay. 2003. A Theoretical and Emperical Examination of Identity as Coping: Linking Coping Resources to the Self Processes of African American Youth .Applied Developmental Science. Vol. 7. No. 3. P. 181-205. Temple, Christel N. 2006. Rescuing the Literary in Black Studies. The Journal of Black Studies. Vol. 36. No. 5. p. 764-785 Tuhiwai-Smith, Linda. 1999. Decolonizing Methodologies: Research and Indigenous Peoples. Dunedin: Zed Books. Welsh-Asante, Kariamu. 2003. The Aesthetic Conceptualization of Nzuri. The Journal of Black Studies. Woodson, Carter G. 1933. Miseducation of the Negro.


Graduate Student Journal



College of Ethnic Studies

Race and Ethnic Recognition: The Complexity of Latino Identities Marimas Hosan

The racial identities of Latinos have undergone a series of complex alterations. For example, historically, Mexican Americans were considered as a part of the white race. Most recently, Mexican Americans and other Spanish-speaking populations have been homogenized into the U.S government-made classification of “Hispanic” or “Latino.” However, beyond the physical boundaries of the U.S. there is no such thing as a Hispanic or Latino person. In Latin American countries, race and racism are relegated as nonissues as Latinos mark prejudice due to classism. However, interethnic and intraethnic racial hierarchies continue to exist across the globe. For example, Mexican Americans face challenges within their own ethnic group, as well outside their group. In addition, despite their generation status, Mexican Americans continue to be viewed as foreigners and unwilling to assimilate by white society. In this paper, I will examine the complexities of Latino identities, as well as the racial hierarchies that prolong the ongoing interethnic and intraethnic battles that they face. Historically, the U.S. has used a Black and white binary to decipher race relations. In the nineteenth century, only a portion of the


Graduate Student Journal Latino population was considered legally white. Candelario explains that a hierarchy lied within the Latino population called the “Casta system” which was constituted by race and class.1 The Casta system ranked peoples accordingly: the Spanish Peninsulars (individuals born in the Iberian Peninsula) belonged at the top, followed by the Spanish Creole, Indigenous peoples, mixed peoples and lastly Africans at the bottom. Mexican Americans had the ability to identify as white because of their Spanish ancestry. With the signing of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo in 1849, Mexicans were able to acquire U.S. citizenship, which was only possible for whites at the time.2 However, claiming a white identity was not possible for all Mexicans; Almaguer explains that Mexican ranchero elites (“gente de razón” also known as “people of reason”) who owned large parcels of land, identified as white, whereas lower class Mexicans were not considered white.3 Mexicans who lived in traditional Native American ways were considered “gente sin razon” meaning people without rational values.4 The complexity of Mexican American whiteness is embodied in law. Although Mexican Americans were deemed white by law, they still faced racial disparities in everyday life. Despite identifying as white, Mexican Americans were not fully accepted by white America. Foley explains that in Independent School District v. Salvatierra, school officials used language to segregate Mexican American and white schoolchildren.5 The decision of the Salvatierra and Mendez v. Westminster cases reestablished that Mexican Americans were white and should not be segregated from other whites.6 In the Hernandez v. Texas case, the defense argued a jury of white individuals without any Mexican Americans was biased because it did not represent the defendant, Hernandez.7 The Court ruled that because Mexican Americans were considered white by law, a jury of all white individuals with no Mexican Americans was in fact impartial. The perplexing nature of Mexican American whiteness is further confounded when one examines antimiscegenation laws that prohibited white Mexican Americans from marrying non-white Mexican Americans in states like Arizona.8 In the 1970’s the term “Hispanic” was coined to describe


College of Ethnic Studies Spanish-speaking peoples. However, currently on government forms like the U.S. Census questionnaire, Hispanic is not a race, rather an ethnicity. Individuals are asked to classify themselves as non-white Hispanic or non-Black Hispanic. These classifications are rooted from a historical standpoint; Menchaca claims that “Latino/as descend from three races: Indians, whites, and Blacks”;9 therefore from the U.S. governmental perspective, Latinos can claim to belong to any race. Despite the classification in the U.S., Europeans have often viewed Latin American countries as a utopic with all shades of people living together harmoniously.10 Race is not seen as a major issue among the Latin American population. Although the different shades of people are living together, many long to be phenotypically white. Blanqueamineto or whitening is a serious issue among the Latino population.11 Whitening is often accomplished when Latinos choose to marry partners specifically with lighter skin tone to better their chances of producing children with lighter skin. This longing for whiteness coincides with class. The ideal is that the whiter one is, the more successful one can be. Bonila-Silva and Dietrich explain that dark-skinned Latinos often have fewer opportunities than white Latinos, and are less accepted by white America.12 Almaguer also explains that the Spanish-made hierarchy has resulted in the reracialization of interethnic Latino populations including Puerto Ricans and Mexicans.13 For example, Puerto Ricans view Mexicans as “too Indian,” whereas Mexicans view Puerto Ricans as “too Black.” The topic of reracialization within the Latino population is perplexing because they are of a mixed-heritage composed of Spanish, Native American, and African ancestry. What is more troubling is the overemphasis of Spanish or Native American heritage over African ancestry. Duany explains how Puerto Ricans have embraced their indigenous roots by claiming Taíno heritage and disregarding their African ancestry.14 Native American favoritism over African ancestry is also illustrated in the 1960’s Chicano movement with Mexican Americans. In reclaiming their mixed mestizo heritage, Mexican Americans in the 1960’s coined the racial classification “Chicano” and sought to reclaim their motherland Atzlan,


Graduate Student Journal within the boundaries of the U.S.15 However, rather than claim all aspects of their mixed heritage, Chicano activists upheld their Native American bloodline, renounced their white Spanish heritage, and disregarded their Black ancestry. Chicano activists, like Vasconcelos further supported the notion of being â&#x20AC;&#x153;the cosmic race, the final raceâ&#x20AC;?.16 The contradiction of claiming a hybrid race, while only claiming one aspect of it parallel beliefs held in the nineteenth century about whiteness. Lopez explains that whiteness was measured biologically by blood quantum and phenotype.17 Similarly, Chicanos based their racial identity on blood quantum, rather than cultural identity. However, instead of claiming whiteness, Chicanos claimed Native American ancestry. In Candelarioâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s study of hair culture, white looks were preferred over Black looks.18 The look or style is illustrated as skin tone, facial features, and hair texture. However, the Dominican women being studied indicated that white looks were synonymous with the Latina look. This meant that despite their mixed heritage, they viewed Latina women in opposition to Black women; Latina women had light skin, straight hair, and dull or no African facial features. Contrarily, the Dominican women had opposing views on young girls, preferring young girls that had more African facial features and darker skin tone. Candelario argues that her participants favored more African looks among young girls because they were thinking of their own daughters.19 Bonilla-Silva and Dietrich assert that the Black and white racial binary in the U.S. is transforming into a Latin Americanized stratification of race.20 In this racial hierarchy, whites are held at the peak and Blacks at the bottom. The tri-racial stratification is categorized as whites, honorary whites, and collective Blacks.21 The group classification criteria range from immigration, generation, and skin tone. For example, honorary whites are typically assimilated ethnic groups that have been in the U.S. for several generations, like the Chinese and Japanese Americans, but can also include light-skinned Latinos. The collective Black group includes newer ethnic immigrants like Southeast Asians, but can also include dark-skinned Latinos. Therefore, the white category is not just limited to whites, but can also include assimilated white Latinos and


College of Ethnic Studies Native Americans, as well as a few assimilated Asian groups. Bonilla-Silva and Dietrich argue that the U.S. is becoming Latin Americanized because the demography is changing with a significant increase of people of color (POC).22 This increase has led to legal actions for equality for POC. Although POC are legally equal to whites, they continue to be marginalized socially through economic statuses and educational access. In addition, the process of whitening seems to be occurring on both sides of the spectrum for whites and POC. For instance, although Latinos are marrying whites to lighten their childrenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s skin tone, whites are also more likely to marry honorary whites because they are assimilated. Furthermore, the 2000 U.S. Census highlights that eighty percent of Puerto Ricans identified as white, despite being typically nonwhite.23 Despite centuries of progress and an increase of Latinos in the U.S., the U.S. tri-racial stratification perpetuates the same beliefs of the Spanish Casta system. The racial hierarchy of white supremacy is not only alive in white America, but also within Latino populations. A number of policies have been passed to limit the resources of Mexican immigrants, who crossed the U.S. border illegally. However, these policies not only harm Mexican immigrants, but also inadvertently affect Mexican Americans including those who have lived in the U.S. for several generations. The Bracero program introduced many Mexican immigrants to U.S. wages, but came under scrutiny when â&#x20AC;&#x153;Operation Wetbackâ&#x20AC;? was created to deport the same Mexican immigrants.24 Like other ethnic groups, Mexicans were also seen as dangerous competition in the labor market. Proposition 63 passed in 1986 and made the official language in California, English.25 Proposition 187, later nullified in the court system, restricted education and health services for Mexican immigrants.26 Proposition 209 passed in 1996 was meant to end Affirmative Action and end preferential treatment based on race, sex, ethnicity and national origin disregards the marginalization of POC, and further grants whites more privilege, as they do not face racial challenges.27 During the Clinton administration, Congress also passed the Welfare Reform Act, which restricted public services to noncitizens, and the Illegal Immigrant Reform and Immigrant


Graduate Student Journal Responsibility Act, often referred to as the “Mexican Exclusion Act,” which denied basic legal rights to Mexican migrants.28 Furthermore, prior to 1991 California residents who were noncitizens were able to obtain a driver license without a social security number.29 These policies and restrictions have created harm to Mexican migrants as they have to live their life illicitly and through fear. For example, Mexican migrants are forced to drive their cars unlicensed, and hold a constant fear of becoming ill, as they cannot seek medical attention because of the threat of deportation. For Mexican Americans, these policies enable nativist views that they are noncitizens and foreigners, who do not speak English. In a research study conducted by Jimenez, he illustrates the different experiences of three Mexican generations.30 The first generation struggled to gain acceptance from white Americans so they often did not teach their children Spanish. The second generation was more assimilated into U.S. society as a result of their parents not teaching them Spanish or celebrating Mexican holidays. The third generation was Americanized, but sought to acculturate through their friendships with Mexican immigrant youth. Their friends helped them learn Spanish and exposed them to cultural celebrations.31 However, not all Mexican immigrant youth were supportive of Mexican Americans, arguing that that third generation Mexican Americans were not true Mexicans because they were so Americanized and lacked the Spanish language skills.32 Unlike popular belief as expressed through nativist legislation and policies, Jimenez suggests that all three generations have undergone the process of assimilation. He points out that “ethnic raw materials –ethnically linked symbols and practices” can include holiday celebrations and cuisine that help build ethnic identity; and when these ethnic raw materials are not available, identity becomes more symbolic, as was the case for some Mexican Americans.33 It is difficult when identity becomes symbolic for Mexican Americans because even if they may view themselves as only American, others may perceive them as being Mexican. In other words, how one views one self is not universal because others may view that particular person as something else. In these cases, Mexican Americans often


College of Ethnic Studies adopt flexible identity, switching their identities based on the social setting. The identities and labels of Mexican Americans are complex in that they can ascribe to multiple labels including: Chicano, Hispanic, Latino, Mexican and Mexican American.34 One person can also use these labels interchangeably, depending on the social setting. For example, in one setting a third generation Mexican American can claim that he is Chicano in a group of political activists, in another setting the same individual can claim to be Hispanic in a group with white individuals, and in another setting the same individual can claim to be Latino with other Latino individuals from different countries. Mexican Americans face struggles of identity, overAmericanization, and lack of ethnic raw materials when confronted by Mexican immigrants. They are also often racialized by white society as not American enough and unwilling to assimilate. Mexican Americans are pulled in two directions; on one end they are pulled by Mexican immigrants to enrich their culture, and on the other end they are pulled by white Americans to assimilate. However, on both ends Mexican Americans are still unable to fully encapsulate their full culture or fully assimilate into white society because they can still be perceived as foreigners. Therefore, despite the pull from both directions, they are still unable to gain full acceptance from either end. On one end of the spectrum, there is evidence of Latinos claiming whiteness to survive within the hegemony. Unlike the Brown v. Board of Education case, which was used to fight segregation and maltreatment of all races, the Latino population has sought to end maltreatment for their own population. The Latino population has claimed whiteness or their own ethnicities when convenient for their win in legal cases. Although whiteness could be claimed, racial disparities still existed between whites and Mexican Americans. For example, Mexican American ranchero elites were considered to be white by whites, but were also racialized as “semi-civilized” or “semi-barbarian.”35 The racialization of lower class Mexican Americans is less emphasized. However, it is important to explore the racialization of lower class Mexican Americans as many ranchero elites were subject to resign their properties to whites,


Graduate Student Journal and later belonged to the lower social classes. On the other end of the spectrum, there is evidence of Latinos also upholding their Spanish predecessors’ racist beliefs by interethnically reracializing each other. In the nineteenth century, Native Americans were racialized and used as servants by Mexican Americans. Although ranchero elites claimed good treatment towards Native American servants, Almaguer calls them the “stepchildren” of ranchero elites, and illustrated maltreatment as observed by American visitors like George Simpson.36 Inter and intra ethnic conflicts are important in understanding why ranchero elites would claim whiteness, rather than proclaiming and fighting for their own ethnic identity. This psychological warfare that Latinos battle with each other is what I deem a form Stockholm syndrome. The effects of this Stockholm syndrome has led much of the Latino American population to publicly disregard race altogether. Ironically, the Latino population is so impelled by tradition that they unknowingly disrespect and hurt each other by forgetting their own mixed heritages. In an inevitable racial hierarchy where white supremacy prevails, it is important to embrace all aspects of mixed heritage because Latinos are marginalized in multiple mediums. Therefore, embracing white supremacy and disregarding ethnic roots (whether it be partially or fully) leads to further marginalization of POC. As illustrated in Candelario’s study, there is an importance in accepting one’s own race and identity for one’s children, however the Latino population needs to expand this acceptance to include their own peoples. The Latino population has shown that reaching out to other marginalized populations is also important in building solid alliances against the hegemonic white society. It can be interpreted that marginalized groups need to work together to gain fair treatment. In all historical cases, the hegemonic white society continued to support whites over marginalized POC. Notes 1 Ginetta E.B. Candelario, “Color Matters: Latina/o Racial Identities and Life Chances” from Juan Flores and Renato Rosaldo, A Companion to Latino Studies (Malden, Mass: Blackwell Publishing, 2007), 340-


College of Ethnic Studies 341. 2 Tomas Almaguer, “The True Significance of the Word ‘White’” from Tomas Almaguer, Racial Fault Lines: The Historical Origins of White Supremacy in California (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2009) 2nd edition, 46. 3 Ibid., 46. 4 Ramon A. Gutierrez, “Hispanic Identities in the Southwestern United States,” in Ilona Katzew and William B. Taylor, Eds., Race and Classification: The Case of Mexican Americans (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2009), 180. 5 Neil Foley, “’God Bless the Law, He is White’; Legal, Local, and International Politics of Latina/o and Black Desegregation Cases in Post-World War II California and Texas” from Juan Flores and Renato Rosaldo, A Companion to Latino Studies (Malden, Mass: Blackwell Publishing, 2007), 299-300. 6 Ibid., 300, 302. 7 Ibid., 304-305. 8 Martha Menchaca, “Latinos/as and the Mestizo Racial Heritage of Mexican Americans” from Juan Flores and Renato Rosaldo, A Companion to Latino Studies (Malden, Mass: Blackwell Publishing, 2007), 319. 9 Ibid., 313. 10 Jorge Duany, “Neither Black nor White: The Representation of Racial Identity among Puerto Ricans on the Island and in the U.S. Mainland” Chap. 10 in Jorge Duany, The Puerto Rican Nation on the Move: Identities on the Island and in the United States (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2002), 239. 11 Eduardo Bonilla-Silva and David R. Dietrich, “The Latin Americanization of U.S. Race Relations: A New Pigmentocracy,” from Evelyn Nakano Glenn, Ed., Shades of Difference: Why Skin Color Matters (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2011), 45. 12 Ibid., 41, 51, 57. 13 Tomas Almaguer, “Race, Racialization, and Latino Populations” in Daniel Hosang, Oneka Bennett, and Laura Pulido, Eds. Racial


Graduate Student Journal Formation in the Twentieth-First Century (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2012), 159. 14 Jorge Duany, “Making Indians out of Blacks: The Revitalization of Taino Identity in Contemporary Puerto Rico” Chap. 11 from Jorge Duany, The Puerto Rican Nation on the Move: Identities on the Island and in the United States (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2002), 280. 15 Ian Haney Lopez, “Inventing Chicanos” from Ian Haney Lopez, Racism on Trial: The Chicano Fight for Justice (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2003), 217. 16 Ibid., 219. 17 Ibid., 223. 18 Ginetta E. B. Candelario, “Black Women Are Confusing, but the Hair Lets You Know: Perceiving the Boundaries of Dominicanidad”, Chapter 5 from Ginetta E.B. Candelario, Black Behind the Ears: Dominican Racial Identity from Museums to Beauty Shops (Durham: Duke University Press, 2007), 235. 19 Ibid., 252. 20 Bonilla-Silva and Dietrich, The Latin Americanization, 40. 21 Ibid., 41. 22 Ibid., 46-48. 23 Ginetta E. B. Candelario, Black Behind the Ears, 338. 24 Patricia Zavella, I’m Neither Here nor There: Mexican’s Quotidian Struggles with Migration and Poverty (Durham: Duke University Press, 2011), 29-30. 25 Ibid., 33. 26 Ibid., 34. 27 Ibid., 35. 28 Ibid., 36. 29 Ibid., 43. 30 Tomas Jimenez, “Dimensions of Mexican-American Assimilation,” “Replenishing Mexican Ethnicity,” and “The Ties that Bind and Divide: Ethnic Boundaries and Ethnic Identity,” Chapters 3, 4, & 5 from Tomas R. Jimenez, Replenishing Ethnicity: Mexican Americans, Immigration,


College of Ethnic Studies and Identity (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2010), 70. 31 Ibid., 109-110. 32 Ibid., 165. 33 Ibid., 102-103. 34 Jessica M. Vasquez, “As Much Hamburger as Taco: ThirdGeneration Mexican Americans” Chapters 7 from Jessica M. Vasquez, Mexican Americans across Generations: Immigrant Families, Racial Realities (New York: New York University Press, 2012), 195. 35 Ruben G. Rumbaut, “”Pigments of Our Imagination: On the Racialization and Racial Identity of “Hispanics” and “Latinos” in Jose A. Cobas, Jorge Duany, and Joe R. Feagin, How the United States Racializes Latinos: White Hegemony & Its Consequences (Boulder: Paradigm Publishers, 2009), 15. 36 Tomas Almaguer, Racial Fault Lines, 49-50. Bibliography Almaguer, Tomas. “Race, Racialization, and Latino Populations.” In Racial Formation in the Twentieth-First Century, edited by Daniel Hosang, Oneka Bennett, and Laura Pulido, 143-161. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2012. Almaguer, Tomas. “The True Significance of the Word ‘White’.” In Racial Fault Lines: The Historical Origins of White Supremacy in California. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2009. Bonilla-Silva, Eduardo and David R. Dietrich, “The Latin Americanization of U.S. Race Relations: A New Pigmentocracy.” In Shades of Difference: Why Skin Color Matters, edited by Evelyn Nakano Glenn, 40-60. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2011. Candelario, Ginetta E. B. Black Behind the Ears: Dominican Racial Identity from Museums to Beauty Shops. Durham: Duke University Press, 2007. Candelario, Ginetta E.B. “Color Matters: Latina/o Racial Identities and Life Chances.” In A Companion to Latino Studies. edited by


Graduate Student Journal Juan Flores and Renato Rosaldo, 337-349. Malden: Blackwell Publishing, 2007. Duany, Jorge. The Puerto Rican Nation on the Move: Identities on the Island and in the United States. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2002. Foley, Neil. “’God Bless the Law, He is White’; Legal, Local, and International Politics of Latina/o and Black Desegregation Cases in Post-World War II California and Texas.” In A Companion to Latino Studies. edited by Juan Flores and Renato Rosaldo, 297-309. Malden: Blackwell Publishing, 2007. Gutierrez, Ramon A. “Hispanic Identities in the Southwestern United States.” In Race and Classification: The Case of Mexican Americans, edited by Ilona Katzew and William B. Taylor, 174-193. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2009. Jimenez, Tomas. Replenishing Ethnicity: Mexican Americans, Immigration, and Identity. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2010. Lopez, Ian Haney. Racism on Trial: The Chicano Fight for Justice. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2003. Menchaca, Martha. “Latinos/as and the Mestizo Racial Heritage of Mexican Americans.” In A Companion to Latino Studies. edited by Juan Flores and Renato Rosaldo, 313-323. Malden: Blackwell Publishing, 2007. Rumbaut, Ruben G. “Pigments of Our Imagination: On the Racialization and Racial Identity of ‘Hispanics’ and ‘Latinos.’” In How the United States Racializes Latinos: White Hegemony & Its Consequences, edited by Jose A. Cobas, Jorge Duany, and Joe R. Feagin, Boulder: Paradigm Publishers, 2009. Vasquez, Jessica M. Mexican Americans across Generations: Immigrant Families, Racial Realities. New York: New York University Press, 2012.


College of Ethnic Studies Zavella, Patricia. Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m Neither Here nor There: Mexicanâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Quotidian Struggles with Migration and Poverty. Durham: Duke University Press, 2011.


Graduate Student Journal

Breaking the Binary: How Jero and Mal Hall Challenge the One-Drop Rule Morgan Melendes Mentz

Introduction Reductionist social definitions of mixed race individuals are contentious because they challenge hegemonic notions of race (Elam 17). The historical complexities around the reductionist views of mixed race individuals are rooted in mono-racial culture that ignores multiplicity and heterogeneity (Elam 49). To address these issues English professor Michele Elam and social scientist Nikki Khanna explore the social experience of mixed race individuals in the African American community. They expand upon the self-determination of mixed persons through the deconstruction of a mixed race canon and documentation of personalized experiences of mixed individuals. Both authors draw attention to the complexities of a mixed Black identity existing within a racial binary framework. Two individuals openly defying racial reductionism are comedian Mal Hall and enka, a Japanese ballad style music, singer Jero who are inclusive of their Black and Asian identities. This paper will examine how they are creatively expanding upon the mixed experience that goes beyond such binaries. Additionally, looking at the intersections of gender and race Patricia Hill Collins and Margaret


College of Ethnic Studies Hillenbrand who deconstruct issues of Black and Asian masculinity will be useful in articulating how both Jero and Mal Hall are defying racialized sexualities as well. In this paper I will explore how Jero who is of African American and Japanese ancestry has been able to break free of limited delineations of race from both mono-racial perspectives of the United States and Japan by successfully establishing a career as an enka singer inclusive of both his ethnic heritages (Hoban, Also, focusing on comedian Mal Hall I will deconstruct how his work exposes the challenges of being mixed race as he exposes and critiques the dominant societyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s reaction to his racial identity (Grant, It is the purpose of this paper to explore how these two individuals challenge and expand what it means to be ethnically authentic from a mixed background and to address how both Japanese enka singer Jero and comedian Mal Hall create a subjectivity that breaks from the mono-racial reductionist model of the one-drop rule. The second goal is to analyze the cultural aspects that a mixed race canon contributes to critiquing the one-drop rule and how its history is still pervasively reducing many African American mixed identities. Finally, it is the goal of this paper to assess how the receptivity of mixed comedian Mal Hall and enka singer Jero is creating an expansive mixed subjectivity. And also, how Jero and Mal Hall disrupt stereotypical perceptions of Black and Asian masculinity by challenging racial reductionism. Literature Review To assess how these two figures are breaking the binary of the one-drop rule it is first necessary to establish the historic and structural aspects of the one-drop rule. Bernie D. Jones in Fathers of Consciousness: Mixed-race Inheritance in the Antebellum South demarcates the origins of the one-drop rule that was established for the purpose of protecting whiteness. Jones analyzes cases of will contestation in which white slave owners left an inheritance and/or freedom to their mixed race children (Jones, location 104, par. 1). These wills were strongly contested by white family members of the deceased because the allowance of a mixed raced


Graduate Student Journal childâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s inheritance threatened the foundation of slavery that functioned to expand white wealth and dominance. Jones assessed that the factors in the decision process of the judges in these manumission cases were governed by hegemonic beliefs of morality in which mixed race offspring were the physical evidence of adultery. Mixed race children were also seen as a product of race betrayal through the act of color crossing by their white fathers (Jones, location 104, par. 1). In addition to threatening ideas of racial purity and of racial morality, manumission for mixed race children in the antebellum south was also challenged on the basis that the very act of ownership itself was a symbol of whiteness alone (Jones, location 140, par. 1). Thus, manumission of mixed race children endangered the entire institution of slavery and definitions of what whiteness meant. Subsequently, guided by these racial projects judges mostly denied manumission to mixed race children and reduced their mixed lineage to a singular Black identity (Jones, location 278, par. 2). The one-drop rule or racial reductionism of mixed race individuals to a mono-racial Black identity was a political tool used in order to protect hegemonic white power. This also reinforced a binary structure or understanding of race that left no room for the recognition of mixed identities and heterogeneity in many African American communities. This reduction of a mixed Black identity rooted in the pervasive one-drop rule is further challenged by Nikki Khanna who delineates how racial individuality undergoes a process of negotiation between mixed individuals and their interactions with mainstream social conceptions of race (Khanna 97). She defines racial identity as â&#x20AC;&#x153;a process in which identity is negotiated between the individual and larger societyâ&#x20AC;? or rather that racial identity is articulated both publically and internally (Khanna 87). Adding to the evidence of Jones, Khanna also notes how the onedrop rule began in the 17th and 18th centuries with anti-miscegenation laws in Virginia and Maryland. Khanna notes that mixed bodies were reduced to a mono-racial otherness by the dominant culture in order to maintain white purity and protect white wealth (Khanna 98). Unlike the historic legal reductionism and politics of passing


College of Ethnic Studies for upward mobility Khanna notes that mixed Black individuals have more choice in identity formation in the post-civil rights era (Khanna 99). Using interviews with 40 biracial subjects in the South she asserts that “reflected appraisals shape their racial identity” meaning the way white hegemony viewed them played a part in their own construction of a mixed racial identity (Khanna 97). She draws on Cooley to demarcate reflected appraisal as a process in which ideas of the onesself are constructed in response to the evaluations and standards set by the dominant culture (Khanna 101). By using the experience of reflected appraisal in which social feedback is utilized as a basis for an individual to develop selfevaluation, she found that even though the majority of her participants identified as multicultural 60% of them felt more identified with being black over being white (Khanna 108). She explains this as the result of the essentializing of a black phenotypical identity by the dominant culture that does not recognize a mixed subjectivity even if they are part white (Khanna 108). One respondent put it simply in terms of finding employment or housing where he felt people did not see him as a mixed person or someone who is part white, but instead “they’re just going to see a black person” (Khanna 109). Khanna’s use of the appraisal process gives evidence to the strong social influences that can dictate individual racial identification. Also, 17.5% identified as mono-racially Black internally while most identified as mixed. Through reflected appraisal however, most felt that the hegemony still viewed them through a mono-racial lens (Khanna 108). Khanna’s research rearticulates similar experience of double consciousness that has an impactful influence on the identity formation of mixed individuals. Her research exemplifies the pervasiveness of the one-drop rule that still exists even though social dynamics of white privilege and racial purity have changed since the antebellum era. Michele Elam’s book the Souls of Mixed Folk deconstructs the intersections of African American mixed identities and how they navigate limited delineations of race. Elam notes how the hegemony has been more inclusive of a mixed race subjectivity to suit its own needs of


Graduate Student Journal maintaining an image of Post-Civil Rights acceptance of diversity (Elam 9). She draws on Eva Saks to demarcate how past denial of mixed race Black and white bodies was done to prohibit the transference of wealth outside of the white dominant culture (Elam 8). She asks how does racial reductionism continue to be pervasive in a culture no longer constrained by anti-miscegenation and legal defense of racial purity? Elam answers this by critiquing the canonized literature on mixed race identification and challenges authors like Paul Spickard who argues that mixed identities are based on fictionalizations of race to construct self-definitions (Elam 49). Elam asserts that this perspective further perpetuates the notion that mixed race individuals and their experiences are inauthentic and limits their holistic realities (Elam 49). Another aspect of the one-drop rule and mixed reductionism in African American history that Elam deconstructs is the politics of passing. In her assessment of The Intuitionist by Colson Whitehead she notes that those who perform race through passing, â&#x20AC;&#x153;not only inherit the legacies of mixed heritage; they put that heritage into practice in a way that marks the transgression ofâ&#x20AC;Śthe paradox of unequal entitlements in the land of equalityâ&#x20AC;? (Elam 118). Thus, passing is a unique piece of a mixed racial history in which mixed individuals caught in the liminal space of the Black and white binary are pushed to negotiate and compartmentalize their identity in order to access privilege. Additionally, Elam explains that passing represents and requires mediation between pervasive stereotypes and tropes of racial performance (Elam 112). She makes a strong point that mixed Black individuals rupture foundational ideologies of race, which threaten the racial privilege of the white hegemony (Elam 54). This is the reason for the production of a singular view of mixed race experiences that ignore intragroup diversity (Elam 55). Additionally, she argues that mixed individuals are dually oppressed by the hegemony and the racial coercion of communities of color that both act as gate keepers of racial authenticity that control the inclusion or exclusions of mixed experiences (Elam 66). The canonical examples that Elam draws upon expose these tensions of being marginalized by the white hegemony while also facing intense


College of Ethnic Studies scrutinization by the African American community. Moving on to ideas of masculinity Patricia Hill Collins discusses the challenges of constructing Black masculinity due to the fact that the community has neglected to notice that gender is a part of exploitation just as much as class and race (Collins 76). She establishes that hegemonic masculinity is defined by the subordination of women and marginalized masculinities that have come to be accepted as unquestionable truths (Collins 79). Collins also argues that there is a three-tiered structure of masculinity in which men of white wealth dominate the top sphere followed by those with access to white male power but remain marginalized and together both dominate the bottom tier of subordinated masculinities (Collins 81). In terms of how the dominant mainstream culture perceives Black masculinity she makes an interesting distinction that the media’s production of a thug image “diverts attention away from social politics that deny Black youth education and jobs” (Collins 87). This argument is poignant as it exposes what Omi and Winant classify as racial projects where the hegemony maintains racial dominance by doubly exploiting Black masculinity for economic gain in its reproduction in the media. Byron Hurt’s documentary Hip-Hop: Beyond Beats and Rhymes also articulates this hyper-sexuality of Black masculinity that is reproduced in Hip-Hop. Hurt deconstructs music videos such as 50-Cent’s “Many Man” that reenacts the violent day when he was shot and images such as Public Enemy’s icon that places a Black male within a snipers scope which represent the targeted violence that Black males suffer under conditional poverty in the United States (Hurt, DVD). Through various interviews with famed Hip-Hop artists Hurt exposes the limitations to this stereotyped masculinity within the genre that prevents a full expression of Black manhood and prohibits many from showing a full range of emotion for fear looking “weak” (Hurt, DVD). In establishing an Asian masculinity in the dominant media form of film Margaret Hillenbrand analyzes the objectivity of Asians in film and the creation of an Asian male subjectivity in Better Luck Tomorrow. She first makes an important distinction that the National


Graduate Student Journal Asian American Telecommunications Association who is responsible for producing films that speak to an Asian American experience often essentialize Asian realities to “accommodate the tastes of mainstream broadcasting” (Hillenbrand 53). These essentializing roles focus on either the eroticization and commodification of Asian culture while films that produce more accurate images of an Asian experience are seen by the community that it represents but rarely meets a wider mainstream audience that would benefit more from its viewing (Hillenbrand 54). Using the theory of mimicry she deconstructs how Better Luck Tomorrow uses classic themes of youth culture in film to create a subjectivity of its Asian American male characters (Hillenbrand 56). An interesting parallel that Hillenbrand makes is the films parody of cinematic youth culture like the classic John Hughes film Sixteen Candles which exhibits gross Orientalist imagery of Asian masculinity in the character Long Duk Dong (Hillenbrand 61). By placing the Asian young males at the center of this high school parody Better Luck Tomorrow successfully creates a space for the viewer to have a more holistic vision of Asian masculinity. Research Questions How do Jero and Mal Hall respond or address issues of reflected appraisal and the one-drop rule? Additionally, how do Mal Hall and Jero shatter racial and gender stereotypes through their artistic mediums? Also, how do they both create a mixed subjectivity breaks from the mono-racial reductionism? And finally, how are Mal Hall and Jero subversively intersections of race and gender as well? Methodology Based on the questions involving cultural receptivity of Mal Hall and Jero in relation to the one-drop rule I found the best methods to obtain such findings was to first analyze the content of their work. To do this I utilized online video coverage of Jero’s concerts and of Mal Hall’s stand-up routines. This method of content analysis was beneficial in deconstructing the subtle and overt forms of resistance to mono-racial


College of Ethnic Studies reductionism in their work that is largely apart of their public personae. Additionally, I looked at various news articles that documented their work and the public’s receptivity to their art. This data collection through news and media coverage gave a fuller picture of how their work has been received by the dominant culture. Also, analysis of recorded interviews by news organizations also helped to answer the question of how they are transforming or breaking from the pervasiveness of the one-drop rule. Ultimately, it was most helpful to use a cultural analysis framework for my methodology in order to obtain evidence of their mixed subjectivity. Findings To address the issue of racial reductionism for many mixed African Americans Jero stated in an interview with CNN in their Talk Asia segment that his mother was bullied for being hapa as a youth in Japan and that her experience influenced his own struggle to articulate a self-defined mixed Black and Japanese identity in the United States (“Jero Interview on CNN 1/3.” He also notes that his connection to his Asian identity was received from his Grandmother who exposed him to Japanese culture through films, music, and through the sharing of the Japanese language. Through this cultural transference from his Grandmother he was imbued with a strong sense of pride for his Japanese heritage that coupled with his African American identity received by his local community in Pittsburgh, PA. This would eventually motivate him to move to Japan and revolutionize the genre of enka with his unique mixed perspective (“Jero Interview on CNN 1/3.” YouTube. com). Traditionally, enka is a music genre associated with loss and war as it became popular during the post-WWII era. His awareness of the discrimination against mixed persons by the Japanese dominant culture that he learned from his mother and guided by his own experience of racial reductionism from the one-drop rule in the United States makes his success as an enka a great accomplishment. The fact that Jero is able to hybridize an ethnically specific genre of Japanese music favored


Graduate Student Journal by an older more traditional generation while asserting a mixed Black subjectivity is powerful. His ability to communicate in the Japanese language plays a large role in breaking down reductionist stereotypes of the mixed person as he responds to the question of facing discrimination as an African American in Japan and he states that people would assume that he did not speak Japanese and would out-group him until he proved his authenticity by being able to communicate in Japanese (“Jero Interview on CNN 1/3.” In the interview he also addresses how his inclusion of a more rhythmic Hip-Hop style hybridized with traditional enka formulates in his own unique sound (“CNN Talk Asia - Jero.” He notes that an African American enka singer has never happened before and instead of succumbing to limited definitions of race in order to fit into Japanese culture he instead wants, “to be me every time I get up on stage” (“CNN Talk Asia - Jero.” Thus, his fitted cap and Hip-Hop apparel worn in place of the traditional kimono worn by most enka singers is not only expressive of his own uniqueness, but is a subversive act to assert his own hybridity and subjectivity on stage. However, he did recognize himself as African American and not hapa or mixed when asked about his experience growing up in the United States and his transition to living in Japan. His response is evidence of Khanna’s delineation of reflected appraisal as he was aware that the dominant culture perceived him through a mono-racial lens, but through his career he is transforming static images of race and presenting a holistic image of a mixed Black identity every time he steps on stage before thousands of adoring fans. Also, Jero creatively utilizes the power of naming to articulate a self-determined mixed identity. This is evident in the name that he chose for his enka personae that is a hybrid of his American name and his connection to the Japanese language and ethnic identity. His birth name Jerome represents his African American identity and his enka moniker Jero is a clear hybridization that succinctly reflects both cultures in one name. It is also important to note how Jero addresses the issue of


College of Ethnic Studies reductionist hyper-sexualization of the Black male body. As Collin’s explains the commodification of the Black body for the consumption of dominant culture can only be challenged by a redefinition of Black masculinity (Collins 93). Jero even though his performance is a part of public consumption he manages to resist stereotypes of Black masculinity by making the content of his creative works centered on his lived experience and not on his body. Additionally, Jero’s Hip-Hop style is an expression of how he chooses to outwardly identify with his African American mixed identity, which is also subversive as he uses it to present a holistic mixed subjectivity that detaches from stereotyped images of the Black male body that mainstream Hip-Hop reproduces. Unlike the hypermasculinized images focused on violence, sexuality and the subjugation of one’s female counterparts Jero instead keeps his body covered with a classy Hip-Hop swagger that is expressive of a whole self and not a sexualized body for consumption. By not exposing his body or using female bodies as sexual objects to shape a hyper-masculine presence he forces the audience to view him as a whole self-scripted with multiple aspects of his hybrid identity. Elam’s delineation of a reductionist definition of mixedness is also addressed in Glionna’s 2011 article in the Los Angeles Times about Jero that states, “although African American in one of the world’s monocultural societies [Japan], his fluency in Japanese helped him break the ice with strangers” (Glionna, Los Angeles Times). Even though this article praises Jero as a figure of multicultural inclusivity this statement is problematic because immediately identifies him as being only African American and foreigner to a Japanese identity. Furthermore, it supports the notion that his exclusion from racial authenticity as a Japanese male was only reconciled by his knowledge of the language. This exemplifies Elam’s demarcation of how mixed race individuals are mistakenly perceived as being inauthentic and must prove their racial authenticity. What if Jero did not speak Japanese fluently, would he be any less authentically Japanese? Absolutely not because it is not the fact that he can speak Japanese fluently that makes him


Graduate Student Journal authentically Japanese nor is it the Hip-Hop style clothing that he wears on stage that makes him African American. It is the kinship experience of culture sharing that he experienced as a child with his grandmother and his African American community in addition to how he simply chooses to identify himself that makes him authentic. Ultimately, it is this self-determination of his own mixed identity expressed in his artistic recreation of enka that is forcing the dominant culture to reimagine what it means to be mixed African American and racially authentic. Similarly, Mal Hall creates a holistic mixed Black identity through comedy by exposing how the dominant society is confused when met with his mixed race body in his sketch called “Acting White” (“Mal Hall | Acting White”, He opens by addressing the audience, “I’m half Black and half Asian if you’re wondering. I don’t know where these fucking eyebrows came from? Their not Black or Asian…” (“Mal Hall | Acting White”, Here he is addressing Khanna’s theory of reflected appraisal head on, as he knows that people are typically confused by his mixed identity. Through the medium of comedy he addresses this confusion of the dominant culture because he assumes there is immediate speculation of his racial authenticity because his body does not fit neatly into a mono-racial understanding of a Black identity. With this joke he is exposing the limited and stereotyped perceptions that influence the gaze of dominant society and continues to ignore and reduce a holistic mixed identity. Additionally, in Hall’s stand-up set on the Laugh Factory he addresses reflected appraisal of his mixed Black and Asian experience by making fun of racist comments that he repeatedly receives from the dominant culture that seeks to make sense of his mixed Black and Asian identity through reductionist comments. In particular he addresses the intersectionality of gender and mixedness in this set when he states, “When the Tiger Woods thing happened that ruined my life for like six months. Everyone came to me, ‘Mal you’re half Black and half Asian why’d he do it?’” (“Mal Hall - Half Black Half Asian.” He jokingly exposes the absurdity of these types of questions that reduce Black and Asian sexuality to a stereotyped understanding that assumes


College of Ethnic Studies the mixed experience is not unique but monolithic, which denies space for recognizing a holistic mixed subjectivity. Further addressing issues of masculinity Hall takes the focus away from a static model of Black masculinity by focusing on universal gender politics in his comedic critique of Twilight as a bad date night film to watch (â&#x20AC;&#x153;Twilight is not a good date movie!â&#x20AC;?, YouTube. com). He critiques the act of stocking and jokes that such behavior is unacceptable and undesired behavior in reality. By using a mainstream film like Twilight to critique non-racialized gender dynamics he takes the focus away from stereotypical ideas of Black masculinity and instead centers his own personal opinions of masculinity thus asserting his own subjectivity. Conclusion: Historically, the essentializing of mixed race individuals has left little room for the self-delineation of a multifaceted mixed subjectivity (Jones, location 278, par. 2). This has been due to the limitations in perceptions of mixed individuals from both the white hegemony and from communities of color (Elam 66). The pervasiveness of the one-drop rule is still evident and highly contested within literature, mainstream media, and in the personal lives of mixed individuals as expressed by Khanna and Elam. Fortunately, the creative works of Mal Hall and Jero are revolutionizing and rearticulating how the dominant culture perceives mixed Black individuals. Their examples challenge the problematic reductionism of mixed Black identities by injecting their own unique mixed experiences in their work and rebelling against stereotyped roles of Black and Asian masculinity. By placing their distinctive mixed realities at the center of their work they are able to create their own subjectivity that presents a holistic vision of mixed authenticity. More importantly they are creating spaces within the dominant culture for discussion around the struggle for self-determination in defining oneâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s own holistic mixed identity.


Graduate Student Journal Works Cited “CNN Talk Asia - Jero.” YouTube. YouTube, n.d. Web. 16 Dec. 2012. Collins, Patricia H. “A Telling Difference: Dominance, Strength, and Black Masculinity.” Progressive Black Masculinities. New York: Routledge, 2006. Print. Elam, Michele. The Souls of Mixed Folk. Stanford University Press, 2011. Print Frantz Fanon, “On Violence,” in The Wretched of the Earth (New York: Grove Press, 1963), 1-62. Grant, Lee. “Ladies and Gentlemen, Mal Hall” U-T San Diego. N.p., n.d. Web. 27 Sept. 2012. < news/2009/may/31/1a31view022549-ladies-and-gentlemenmal-hall/?page=1>. Glionna, John M. “Jero Fulfills a Promise to His Grandmother.” Los Angeles Times. Los Angeles Times, 27 Feb. 2011. Web. 08 Nov. 2012. < entertainment/la-ca-0227-cultural-exchange-20110227>. Hall, Mal. “Mal Hall | Acting White.” YouTube. YouTube, 16 Mar. 2009. Web. 08 Nov. 2012. < watch?v=F-FUQrcCooY>. Hall, Mal. “Twilight Is Not a Good Date Movie!” YouTube. YouTube, 06 Oct. 2009. Web. 08 Nov. 2012. < watch?v=XHGZDvCxlSo>. Hillenbrand, Margaret. “Of Myths and Men: ‘Better Luck Tomorrow’ and the Mainstreaming of Asian America Cinema.” Cinema Journal, Vol 47, No. 4, University of Texas Press (Summer, 2008), 50-75. Hoban, Alex. “Turning Japanese: Jero ... the Hip-hop Enka Star!” The Guardian. Guardian News and Media, 15 Apr. 2009. Web. 27 Sept. 2012. < turning-japanese-jero-enka>. Hurt, Byron. Hip-Hop: Beyond Beats and Rhymes. Dir. Byron Hurt. God Bless the Child Productions, Inc. and Independent


College of Ethnic Studies Television Service, n.d. DVD. “Jero Interview on CNN 1/3.” YouTube. YouTube, 15 May 2010. Web. 16 Dec. 2012. Khanna, Nikki. “If You’re Half Black, You’re Just Black”: Reflected Appraisals Ad the Persistence of the One-Drop Rule.” The Sociological Quarterly 51 (2010): 96-121. Print. “Mal Hall - Half Black Half Asian.” YouTube. YouTube, 05 Jan. 2012. Web. 16 Dec. 2012. Omi, Michael, and Howard Winant. Racial Formation in the United States: From the 1960s to the 1990s. New York: Routledge, 1994. Print.


Graduate Student Journal

Positive and Negative Impacts of an Asian American Panethnicty Marimas Hosan

People of color (POC) are categorized into four groups: “… blacks, Asian Americans, Hispanics, and Native Americans” (Espiritu, 1992, p. 13). This method of grouping similar people into one category is called panethnicty (Espiritu, 1992, pg. 6). Americans that possess cultural backgrounds from Asian countries and display similar physical features of people from these countries have been categorized as Asian Americans. However, despite this grouping, Asian Americans are in fact different. Asian Americans possess different national origins, languages, religions, cultures, and as exemplified by Filipinos, sometimes have different physical features. These differences are what make up the heterogeneity of this group (Lowe, 1996, p. 67). The homogenization of Asian Americans by U.S. Eurocentric society has led to the formation of a panethnic Asian American group. In this paper, I will discuss the positive impacts of the unification of a panethnic Asian American alliance, as well as the negative impacts created by intergroup conflict. Gotanda (1995) explains that there are four ways in which race is classified: status race, formal race, historical race, and culture race. Status race refers to a social hierarchy, which ranked whites as superior


College of Ethnic Studies and POC as inferior. Formal race refers to the racial categories created by the government, like the government-made Hispanic category. Historical race refers to what the Supreme Court classifies as race at that particular point and time; historical racial classification has changed throughout history. For example, in the Ozawa v. United States (1922) case the Supreme Court classified race scientifically and denied citizenship to the Japanese-born Ozawa, who was phenotypically white. However, in the U.S. v. Bhagat Singh Thind (1923) case the Supreme Court classified race in terms of “common sense”; Thind was denied citizenship because he was phenotypically darker skinned, despite scientifically belonging to the Caucasoid race as an Asian Indian. Culture race refers to the “culture, community and consciousness” of a racial group (Gotanda, 1995, p. 258). The usage of these terms by government entities and other groups shows that race is a social construct (Omi and Winant, 1994, p. 55). Omi and Winant (1994) illustrated how race became socially constructed. POC were racialized by the white hegemony, “…the way in which society is organized and ruled” (Omi & Winant, 1994, p. 56). Racial dictatorship controlled the hegemony by establishing the American identity as white, therefore implementing a color line that grouped all POC as “other” (Omi & Winant, p. 66). The color line produced a bifurcated racial hierarchy that placed whites at the top level and POC at the bottom level. Consequently, prior to the 1960’s Asian immigrants disidentified with other Asian ethnic groups to gain acceptance from whites (Espiritu, 1992, p. 20). According to Okihiro (1994), the modern formation of race for Asian Americans was initiated by the yellow peril fear. The fear of Asian immigrants taking over the workforce led to racial discrimination and exclusion laws that restricted Asian immigration to the U.S. Despite building the U.S. infrastructure by working on plantations, constructing the railroad system, and landscaping the West, Asian immigrants were viewed as perpetual foreigners by whites. When no longer useful, Asians were denied entry into America through the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882, the Gentlemen’s Agreement of 1908, the 1917 and 1924 Immigration Acts, and the


Graduate Student Journal Tydings-McDuffie Act of 1934, which excluded Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Asian Indian and Filipino immigration (Okihiro, 1994, p. 156). Although Asian Americans have been racialized into one group, Lowe (1996) explains the heterogeneity within the group. She describes heterogeneity as indicat[ing] the existence of differences and differential relationships within a bounded category… [A]mong Asian Americans, there are differences of Asian national origin, of generational relation to immigrant exclusion laws, of class backgrounds in Asia and economic conditions within the United States, and of gender (Lowe, 1996, p. 67). Asian Americans come from different countries and immigrated to the U.S. at different times. Therefore, their experiences in the U.S. are different from one another. For example, Chinese laborers who immigrated in the 1840’s have had different experiences compared to Southeast Asian refugees who immigrated in the 1980’s. The Chinese laborers in the 1840’s were usually single men who most likely entered the U.S. as temporary contracted wage workers, and planned to leave the country in five years. When Chinese laborers grew tired of exploitation from white capitalists and wanted to be independent, they sought to reach the petty bourgeois class. Wage workers acquired training from a specific skill trade; when they acquired enough training and savings, they were able to open small businesses to accumulate small fortunes. Between the 1870’s and 1880’s, there was a boom of Chinese laundry businesses (Mei, 1984, p. 396). The growing number of laundry houses was so significant that a Chinese Wash-house Society was established to create territorial boundaries for new laundry houses (Mei, 1984, p. 386). The opportunity to move up to the petty bourgeois class was enticing for Chinese laborers because there was a safety net. If they were successful as entrepreneurs, they could continue to move up the social class ladder; if they were unsuccessful, they could return to their previous jobs as laborers (Mei, 1984, p. 382). In 1882, these laborers faced


College of Ethnic Studies the Chinese Exclusion Act, which restricted new Chinese immigrants from entering the U.S., and current Chinese residents from becoming U.S. citizens or joining white labor unions (Mei, 1984, p. 385). After the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882, it was difficult for Chinese immigrants to find employment. This led unemployed Chinese immigrants to illegitimate means of work as members of the “lumpen” group (Mei, 1984, p. 378). The “lumpen” group, also known as “highbinders,” was unique because they did not have capital or provide labor (Mei, 1984, p. 383). They were considered outlaws because they earned their wealth from exploiting other Chinese; they “liv[ed] off income from extortion and blackmail” (Mei, 1984, p. 383). Lumpen hustled other Chinese workers out of their own fortune. They were also involved in gambling and prostitution. They could also be hired as bodyguards to protect Chinese workers from other lumpen, or work as independent contractors performing assassinations for other Chinese or for their own self-interest. Conversely, Southeast Asian Americans, who generally include Cambodian, Hmong, Laotian and Vietnamese individuals immigrated to the U.S. as refugees. Cambodians fled their home countries with their families to escape the Khmer Rouge, and were admitted into the U.S. with the Refugee Act of 1980 (Smith-Hefner, 1999, p. 8). Early on, Cambodians had to fit the American assimilationist culture and abandon their Buddhist values. In Thai refugee camps, Cambodian refugees had to mold themselves to fit the “good refugee” role to gain sponsorship (Ong, 2003, p. 58-59). In an effort to persecute communists, the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service distinguished between “good” and “bad refugees”; “good refugees” displayed non-Communist values. After gaining sponsorship and being deemed fit to immigrate to the U.S., Cambodian Americans were further scrutinized when receiving federal welfare aid. Social workers were adamant about giving aid to only deserving Cambodians and continually looked for welfare cheats. Most, if not all, Southeast Asian refugees initially received federal welfare aid when arriving in the U.S. The limited aid was supposed to be able to cover housing, food, medical and miscellaneous expenses; however, Southeast Asian refugees found it difficult to pay for all these expenses with the


Graduate Student Journal limited amount of aid issued to them. For Cambodian refugees, this led to informal forms of income called “patchwork [which] referred to such household strategies of combining incomes, welfare payments, and resources from different sources, including extended kin” (Ong, 2003, p. 134). The “resources from different sources” referred to unreported work, like piecework, where individuals could not earn an hourly wage. Like nineteenth and early twentieth century Chinese immigrants, Southeast Asian Americans are able to move out of the working class into the petty bourgeois class. In the 1990’s there was a surge of independently managed donut shops owned by first generation Cambodians. Similar to the Chinese laundrymen, Cambodian donut shop owners, acquired skills by working as unpaid apprentices for six months or more in other Cambodian-owned donut shops (Ong, 2010, p. 286). Once enough money was saved, Cambodians purchased and opened donut shops, joining the petty bourgeois class. Vietnamese Americans moved up the social class ladder in a similar manner by owning and operating nail salons (Ong, 2010, p. 287). First-generation Southeast Asian Americans are similar to Chinese immigrants in the 1800’s. However, when comparing a fifth-generation descendant of a Chinese laborer from the 1840’s to a first-generation Cambodian American, there exists a distinct contrast in social class, education, and even English language skills. Despite the differences among Asian Americans and the racialization from the white hegemony, Asian Americans have voluntarily come together as a panethnic group. Espiritu (1992) states, “The construction of a pan-Asian ethnicity involves the creation of a common Asian American heritage out of diverse histories. Part of the heritage being created hinges on what Asian Americans share: a history of exploitation, oppression, and discrimination” (p. 17). Although Asian Americans have been oppressed and discriminated against for decades, the panethnic Asian American movement uniting Asian groups together was not established until the 1960’s movement for Civil Rights (Espiritu, 1992, p. 14). Initially, naming themselves the Yellow Power movement and known as “Orientals” by Europeans, they later called themselves “Asian Americans” (Espiritu, 1992, p. 31). The panethnic Asian American


College of Ethnic Studies group worked together to fight against oppression by developing news media outlets for Asian Americans, Asian American Studies programs in colleges, and by gaining federal funding for social services programs. Asian Americans were further united when anti-Asian violence arose. In 1982, Chinese American Vincent Chin was brutally murdered by two white men, who had mistaken his identity as Japanese. The two white men had recently lost their jobs in the auto industry in Detroit and were angered by the economic boom of the Japanese auto industry. Instead of a prison sentence, the two men were sentenced to three years of probation and fined $3000 (Espiritu, 1992, p. 141). This enraged and united the Asian American community. For five years, the Asian American community appealed for federal Civil Rights charges against the two white men. However, after many trials and appeals, the two men were acquitted. Again, in 1989, Chinese American Jim (Ming Hai) Loo was mistaken as Vietnamese and attacked and killed by two white men. The two white men bred animosity towards the Vietnamese because their brother fought in the Vietnam War. The Chin and Loo cases sparked an alliance among the Asian American community because anti-Asian agitators could not distinguish the national origins between Asians (Espiritu, 1992, p. 158). A Chinese or Japanese American could easily be mistaken for a Vietnamese or Korean American, or vice versa, and be physically attacked by racists. As a result, the Asian American community had to come together to fight for the justice of all Asian Americans. The unity among the panethnic Asian American group has created many positive changes for all Asian Americans. However, grouping different cultural groups together has undoubtedly become problematic. Problems within the group have stirred because of the social class differences. â&#x20AC;&#x153;The Asian American category includes Japanese Americans, who have higher median family incomes than whites and the Hmong of Southeast Asia, who are one of the poorest U.S. population groupsâ&#x20AC;? (Marable, 2000). Recently, there has been a focus to distribute federal funding to Southeast Asian groups. As a result, other Asian groups (like Chinese and Japanese) have used this knowledge to their advantage by opening their programs to Southeast


Graduate Student Journal Asians, to better fund their own programs. According to Espiritu (1992), There is a historical dimension to the Japanese and Chinese American dominance: they were here first. In the late 1960s, Japanese and Chinese Americans played a prominent role in the Asian American movement: they were the first advocates and thus the first directors of social service agencies (p. 98) Because most Southeast Asians entered the U.S. after the Civil Rights movement they are dually marginalized as they are often disregarded within the Asian American panethnicity that is dominated by Chinese and Japanese, and also discriminated against outside the panethnic group by whites. Most Southeast Asians immigrated to the U.S. in multiple waves between the 1960’s and 1980’s. Commonly referred to as “boat people”, a high number of Vietnamese refugees entered the U.S. in 1978 and 1982, and between 1988 and 1992 (Zhou & Bankston, 1998, p. 24). Cambodians immigrated to the U.S. in three waves: in 1975 when Saigon and Phnom Penh fell to communism, in 1978, and in 1980 after the Refugee Act of 1980 (Smith-Hefner, 1999, p. 8). Since Chinese and Japanese groups immigrated to the U.S. earlier and more prominently than Southeast Asians, Asian American Studies are more focused on the experiences of Chinese and Japanese immigrants (Marable, 2000). Therefore, there is a hierarchy within the panethnic Asian American group, where Chinese and Japanese serve as the racial dictators of this subhegemony. Filipinos noticed the panethnic Asian American hierarchy and disidentified with the Asian American panethnicity early on. During the formation of the Yellow Power movement in the 1960’s, Filipinos created their own group, Brown Asian Caucus (Espiritu, 1992, pg. 32). The usage of “Brown” characterized the different phenotypic shade of Filipinos. Between 1965 and the 1970’s the “brain drain” generation emigrated from the Philippines to the U.S. as professional and technical workers (Strobel, 1996). The children of the “brain-drain” generation call themselves “born-again Filipinos” (Strobel, 1996), seeking their cultural identity and distinction among Asian American community. There is a significant distinction between


College of Ethnic Studies Chinese and Japanese Americans versus Filipino and Southeast Asian Americans. Strobel (1996) states, …Filipino high school students are often perceived as either (Asian American) ‘model minority’ or ‘gang members.’ The successful students (model minority) easily appropriate the Asian American identity but upon entering college, they find that Asian identity refers mainly to Chinese and Japanese Americans and not to Filipino Americans. Southeast Asian Americans are also generally racialized as, “high school dropouts, gangsters, and welfare dependents” (Ngo, 2006; Ngo & Lee, 2007). Additionally, Zhou and Bankston (1998) illustrate that Vietnamese youth are dichotomized as valedictorians or delinquents. Bonilla-Silva and Dietrich (2011) also argue that there exists a tri-racial stratification that is divided with whites at the top, honorary whites in the middle, and collective Blacks at the bottom. Immigration status, generation, and skin tone are criteria that distinguish which category one can belong to. In reviewing 2000 U.S. Census data, Bonilla-Silva and Dietrich (2011) classified Southeast Asian Americans as belonging to the collective Black group because they are newer immigrants and often less educated. Chinese, Japanese, Asian Indian, and Korean groups could potentially fall in the honorary white category as they are often more educated and assimilated to U.S. society. As such, there are major interethnic differences within the Asian American community. Prior the Civil Rights movement, Asian groups fought with one another to gain acceptance from the white community. Takaki (1998) illustrates that Chinese, Japanese, and Filipino laborers were continually pinned against each other to promote efficiency and also used as strikebreakers against white laborers in split labor markets. These tactics led to racial tension between all groups. Since the Civil Rights movement, Asian American groups have come together to form a panethnic group and fight Eurocentric injustice. White America upholds the model minority ideal because it supports the concept of the American dream by exerting that if one worked hard enough, the American dream


Graduate Student Journal could be realized (Takaki, 1998, p. 474). For Asian Americans, the model minority ideal serves more as a stereotype as it tends to focus on the successes of Chinese, Japanese, Korean and Asian Indians, and disregards the struggles of Southeast Asian Americans and Filipinos. Although this panethnic group still faces intergroup conflict, there is a need to keep this diverse group of Asian communities as one panethnic group. However, “…the boundaries of panethnicity should go beyond common history of oppression in the U.S….” (Strobel, 1996). The panethnic Asian American group needs to recognize the contemporary struggles of Filipino and Southeast Asian Americans and accommodate these ethnic groups. References Bonilla-Silva, E., & Dietrich. D. R. (2011). The Latin Americanization of U.S. race relations: A new pigmentocracy. In E. N. Glenn Ed., Shades of Difference: Why skin color matters (40-60). Stanford: Stanford University Press. Espiritu, Y. L. (1992). Asian American panethnicity: Bridging institutions and identities. Philadelphia: Temple University Press. Gotanda, N. (1995). Critical race theory: The key writings that formed the movement. New York: The New Press. Lowe, L. (1996). “Heterogeneity, hybridity, multiplicity: Asian American differences.” On Asian American cultural politics: Immigrant acts. Durham: Duke University Press. Marable, M. (2000). We need new and critical study of race and ethnicity. The Chronicle of Higher Education. Retrieved from http:// Mei, J. (1984). “Socioeconomic developments among the Chinese in San Francisco, 1848-1906”. Labor migration under capitalism: Asian workers in the United States before World War II (370-401). Berkeley: University of California Press. Ngo, B., & Lee, S. J. (2007). Complicating the image of model minori-


College of Ethnic Studies ty success: A review of Southeast Asian American education. Review of Educational Research, 77(4), 415-453. Ngo, B. (2006). Learning from the margins: Southeast and South Asian education in context. Race, Ethnicity, and Education, 9(1), 51-65. Okihiro, G. Y. (1994). Margins and Mainstreams: Asians in American History and Culture. Seattle, WA: University of Washington Press. Omi, M. & Winant, H. (1994). Racial formation in the United States from the 1960s to the 1990s. New York, NY: Routledge. Ong, A. (2003). Buddha is hiding. Berkeley: University of California Press. Ong, A. (2010). The Doughnut Emporium. In Jonathan H.X. Lee (Eds.), Cambodian American experiences: Histories, communities, cultures, and identities. Dubuque: Kendall Hunt Publishing Company. Smith-Hefner, N. J. (1999). Khmer American: Identity and moral education in a diasporic community. Berkeley: University of California Press. Strobel, L. M. (1996). â&#x20AC;&#x153;Born-Again Filipinoâ&#x20AC;?: Filipino American Identity and Asian Panethnicity. Amerasia Journal, 22(2), 31-53. Takaki, R. (1998). Strangers from a different shore. New York, NY: Back Bay Books/Little, Brown and Company. Takao Ozawa v. U.S., 260 U.S. 178 (1922). United States v. Bhagat Singh Thind, 261 U.S. 204 (1923). Zhou, M. & Bankston, C.L., III. (1998). Growing up American: How Vietnamese children adapt to live in the United States. New York: Russell Sage Foundation Press.


Graduate Student Journal

Triple Oppressions Tulay Furrow

Abstract Governmental and NGO social service agencies in the US and Canada are having an increasingly difficult time providing complete and sufficient services for immigrant disabled women from non-English speaking background (NESB). Their combination of disability, gender, and nonEnglish speaking background places them into a multiple minority role. This combination is additive and each intensifies the others resulting in Triple Oppression. Social service agencies are often failing to meet the needs of the multiple minorities resulting in diminished access to services due to a form of discrimination that is not completely recognized today within the fields of disability or ethnic studies theory. Because governmental and non-governmental social service agencies are often overtaxed and understaffed, immigrant NESL women with disabilities are often underserved. The agencies fail to offer complete services offerings, in many cases because they fail to â&#x20AC;&#x153;recognize that people with disabilities have complex and distinct health, environmental, and social requirementsâ&#x20AC;? (Edmonds, 2005). Addressing these requirements is needed to develop a culturally diverse support system. These gaps


College of Ethnic Studies are often due to incomplete staff training, and inefficient logistics. Other gaps in service are policy oversights, which can contribute to a lack of funding and focus. People with disabilities in any society are outsiders. Globally, immigrant women with disabilities are the most oppressed members of their societies. This paper concludes that there is insufficient research documentation today to accommodate a through understanding of the needs of disabled immigrant women NESB given the synergistic effects of their multiple oppressions.

In this paper, I use published research and my own experience as a learning-disabled woman with a non-English-speaking background (NESB) to present the case that US and Canadian social service agencies located in the English speaking provinces are highly challenged to provide complete and sufficient services to NESB women with disabilities. For readability, this paper refers only to English but the reader should be aware that in Canada both English and French are supported and that references to the Americans with Disability act apply only to the United States. . Many agency offices are inaccessible via a public transportation system that fails to accommodate physical disabilities and/or does not provide access to qualified interpreters. I propose that the factors of gender, disability, and a non-English speaking background place the individual into multiple minority roles and that these roles become multiplicative; that is, they can intensify each other. The cumulative effect is often diminished access to services for these women, which is itself a form of discrimination that is not completely recognized today within the fields of disability or feminist theory. Feminist disability theory fits well into four domains of feminist theory: representation, the body, identity, and activism (Garland-Thomson, 2002). I suggest that while both the feminist and disability movements aspire to inclusiveness, their invitations appear addressed to individuals with but a single minority status and I agree with Hans and Patriâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s statement that disabled women are nearly invisible to the disability and womenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s movements (Hans & Patri, 2003).


Graduate Student Journal This paper uses available research and first person narrative to document the impact of incomplete social services on this highly vulnerable population. Because governmental and non-governmental social service agencies are often overtaxed and understaffed, NESB women with disabilities are often underserved. Documents and pamphlets are often only available in the countries official language; English in the US and English and French for Canada. Some of the gaps in services are due to a poorly trained staff with little support for languages other than English. Some social service agency facilities are not [Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)] accessible, and are not located in close proximity to potential clients. Other gaps are policybased, directing scarce funding to the majority cases or setting a focus on those clients deemed to be more likely to be “successful” and therefore more positively measureable. To be disabled in any society is to find oneself an outsider or as an “other.” Globally, women with disabilities are some of the most oppressed members of society (Kaplan, 2006). The oppression of both women and the disabled can be looked at for their similarities. GarlandThomson describes this oppression, stating, “…subjugated bodies are pictured as either deficient or as profligate. For instance, what Susan Bordo describes as the too-muchness of women also haunts disability and racial discourses, marking subjugated bodies as ungovernable, intemperate, or threatening” (Warhol-Down, & Herndal, 2009, p. 492). Identity, including identifying as an outsider, has many components including, race, gender, and ability. These concepts intersect, overlap, and in the case of the disabled can constrain identity to a dependent status. The degree of “otherness” is inversely proportional to the degree to which one fits into the local majority culture. Just as lighter skinned blacks have the ability to avoid some discrimination, some NESB women with non-visible disabilities, e.g. learning disabilities, are able to avoid some of the more outright forms of discrimination (McDonald & Keys, 2007). Having a different skin color or lacking local language expertise contributes to the various prejudices many women


College of Ethnic Studies with disabilities experience.1 Further complicating matters, each society has a certain level of acceptance of disabilities even though the level is not consistent across societies (Munyi, 2012). Garland-Thomson discusses the materiality of the body and the issue of its representation, pointing out that “Perhaps because women and the disabled are cultural signifiers for the body, their actual bodies have been subjected relentlessly to what Michel Foucault calls ‘discipline’ (1979). Together, the gender, race, ethnicity, sexuality, class, and ability systems exert tremendous social pressures to shape, regulate, and normalize subjugated bodies” (Garland-Thomson, 2002, p.10). Women with disabilities may find themselves doubly oppressed for their gender and disability (Raj, 2012). Women and girls with disabilities almost always face a double dose of discrimination, shaped by the particular culture in which they live (Kaplan, 2006). This double dose of discrimination is especially apparent to women with disabilities immigrating to the Western world. While immigration may open some doors to services unavailable in their homeland, some disabled immigrants are not able to voice their need for services and thus find themselves in a lower social status (McDonald & Keys, 2007). Being Non English Speaking background


Sex & Gender

Non English Speaking background

Sex & Gender


Triple Oppression

Figure 1. Multiple Minorities Layered; Triple Oppression


Graduate Student Journal from a non-English-speaking background can add another disadvantage to the already doubly oppressed women with disabilities making them triply challenged.2 Speaking from my own experience, learning-disabled, NESB women can feel overwhelmed by the challenge to learn their new nation’s language. Despite the critical need to learn English, it was nevertheless challenging for each of the subjects of the studies reviewed. Some of the subjects were unable to receive services until they were able to articulate their needs in English verbally or via a form. Parin Dossa is one of the researchers that are looking into the social requirements of these women with disabilities in order to create programs that are tested to ensure that they are meeting even the most highly specific needs of their clients. Agencies are often challenged, however, by inadequate funding and staffing to maintain services. This is true even for their ablebodied, English proficient clients; so disabled NESB women remain unheard and underserved as a result of their lack of English proficiency. Communicating with people in a language other than their first language can affect our sensitivity to their attitudes and values (Shah, 1992). Our language structures the meaning of communication and contributes to a sense of belonging (Sue & Sue, 1999). We think and feel in our first language, and using a second language can block thoughts and emotions (Bhugra, 2002). A clients’ ethnicity patterns their way of thinking and language is a factor in the embellishment of ethnicity so the service provider’s failure to communicate in a client’s first language can create miscommunication, and contribute to clients’ “falling through the cracks.” The ability for the client to receive services in their native language will support their acceptance of services across all main focus areas. These focus areas are: Violence Women with disabilities are at a greater risk of all forms of violence as compared to women without disabilities. They are also less likely to be able to access support, refuge, or legal redress. “Some studies suggest 39-68% of girls with developmental disabilities will be sexually


College of Ethnic Studies abused before they are 18” (Arnade & Heafner, 2006). These rates are rising because many women with disabilities have difficulties with communication and limited resources to get the help they need, contributing to social isolation. Poverty Women with disabilities are more likely to be low income relative to other women. In many cases, women with disabilities are unemployed or underemployed. One study shows that “Employed disabled women tend to be tracked in low-wage, service-sector positions. As of 1981, the mean earnings of disabled women fell far below those of disabled men. Including all workers, disabled males averaged $13,863 annually, compared to disabled females, who averaged$5,835” ( Fine & Asch, 1988, p.10). This is sometimes due to employment discrimination and sometimes due to Medicare’s imposed income upper limits. Reproductive choice In some cultures, potential marriage partners shun women with disabilities. Other societies have established eugenics programs to remove the disabled from their culture. Women with disabilities are discouraged or prevented from having children, because they are widely perceived as being incapable of being mothers (Kaplan, 2006). There may also be discrimination against disabled pregnant women and mothers because of concerns that they will pass on the disability to their children. I have found this to be true in some rural areas of my home country, Turkey. Because of superstition and a misconception, that a women’s disability may be contagious, some families shun the disabled women and her sisters from marriage opportunities. In some cases, the family of a disabled girl will hide her in the home away from the public so that her disability does not negatively reflect on the family. Employment Women with disabilities are more likely to be unemployed, underemployed, or working in lower paid jobs as compared to men with


Graduate Student Journal disabilities and other non-disabled women. These women sometimes experience sexual harassment in the workplace and their marginalization affects their recourse. “¾ of women with disabilities are excluded from the workplace outside the home so most live in poverty, are twice as unlikely to find work and if they do earn 55% less than a disabled man (Arnade & Heafner, 2006). In my personal experience, once I found work outside the house I immediately experienced sexual harassment and severe marginalization. Education Women with disabilities have fewer opportunities for education than men with disabilities and other women (Emanuel, 2000). While estimates are difficult to establish, literacy levels for women with disabilities is lower than women in general and men with disabilities. This lack of access to education colors the ability to learn for many of the women. Having had restricted access has created cases where some of the women felt that they were not capable of learning. In some cases women may not have received adequate testing for learning disabilities and deemed mentally deficient which can lead to isolation or an inferior kind of schooling without typical curricula and opportunities. Access to services Women with disabilities are less likely to receive services for housing, and health than are men with disabilities. Women with disabilities are often unable to access medical services specifically for women, such as breast and gynecological care (Fisa Foundation, 2012). Methodology I use my personal experience and several research papers to discuss the needs of women with disabilities from non-English speaking backgrounds. Additionally, I present research analyses of Mehrun and Fahimeh, two women with disabilities interviewed by Parin Dossa. I will introduce the story of Teresa, a Mexican émigré whose daughter missed critical health care due to a language barrier. Individual stories


College of Ethnic Studies are embedded in the larger social, political, and economic context. I will present research from Canada, England, and the US that address the critical areas of the intersection between sex and disability. Furthermore, I will discuss an Australian study that looks into the needs of women with disabilities from non-English speaking countries.3 Finally, I present analysis and identify the questions that need to be addressed by the US social service agencies that support disabled NESB women. This analysis is based on those findings and recommendations from the nonUS based studies. The lack of available relevant studies of NESB women with disabilities may in itself be telling. It is well documented that this constituency is underserved in several countries, and yet no comprehensive study in the US has been completed. It appears that feminist scholars have left this research up to disability researchers and disability researchers have left it up to the feminists. This constituency deserves to be seen and heard. Tulayâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Experience I am a native of Turkey, a country that enforces strong patriarchal values and where women are frequently subjected to discrimination. I have two types of dyslexia. One impacts long-term memory retrieval and the other, effective oral communication. These conditions were not recognized in my native country when I was younger, most likely due to the lack of focus on remedial academic testing. Instead of being properly diagnosed, students like me who deviated from the academic norm were instead abandoned by the school. Because my opportunities for formal education were constrained, my parents, extended family, and educators saw my future as being limited to a role of wife and mother. I disagreed. But the reality was that my options were limited, so I left school and went to work in retail. I experienced the sexual harassment of management and was required to turn over most of my earnings to my father for safekeeping. This environment quickly demonstrated the effects of gender economics and patriarchy. An opportunity arose that allowed me to immigrate to the US. Once in the US, I experienced life as a non-white disabled expatriate


Graduate Student Journal woman with a non-English speaking background. My disability has limited my educational and professional opportunities, forcing me to work in lower-level retail positions and delaying me from attending college until I was in my forties. I am fortunate, however, because it has not greatly interfered with my social opportunities or my ability to be a mother. I developed circles of support and continue to seek out solutions for working with my disability. My experiences have included overcoming severe damage to my self-esteem during my early social development. I found the intersection between my gender, my disability, and my lack of English skills to be a large and complex challenge. Each factor of oppression compounded the others and the ability to address one sometimes depended on my ability to address a related but separate issue. For example, I had to drive a car to have the mobility I needed to attend training sessions to address my disabilities. In order to pass the driving test I had to learn English under a time constraint. The learning disabilities made this difficult. Some examples of what I faced included professional and personal discrimination. My work reviews were excellent but my employers in the US failed to promote me or compensate me at the rate of non-disabled peers. I suffered the indignity of the OB/GYN insisting on a translator being in the delivery room with me due to my limited English language skills. Successful use of interpreters greatly varies by culture. â&#x20AC;&#x153;The interpreter, however, may feel it culturally inappropriate to translate particular language (e.g. verbal abuse or that related to sexual behavior). Sometimes questions cannot be translated directly and have to be rephrased to make sense in another language. This can result in a translation that is semantically very different from the question originally askedâ&#x20AC;? (Oâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;Hara, 2003, p.6). Interpreters can provide an invaluable service in many settings. For example, they may provide instructions on completing forms and requesting services, or they may translate transportation guides. Appropriate and successful use in clinical and legal settings, however, requires significant formal interpretation training.


College of Ethnic Studies When I would interact with social agencies or the staff of my children’s schools, they would speak to my husband as if I were not there and did not have an opinion - or if they did speak to me, they would speak unusually slowly and loudly as if I had difficulty hearing them. In another instance, after a minor traffic accident, a law enforcement officer questioned my immigration status. At the time, I had been a US citizen for over twenty years. However, the police officer apparently only saw my darker skin and only heard my accent. He projected an attitude that being foreign-born compounded the traffic offence and clearly put me at the disadvantage with the other party who was native-born. He actually asked me “Where were you born?” To assist others in dealing with these issues, I work with a Turkish American association to help ensure that immigrants understand the available support services. Also, I have consulted for and assisted with presentations of US citizenship training. These diverse experiences have provided me with direct observation of the effects of the intersectionality of gender, disability, and a limited English speaking ability. I have found that my interest and desire to assist the disabled is a common trait among many disabled feminists. The field of disability studies continues to grow and change. Recent additions to the field such as feminist disability studies and cultural studies have challenged “traditional” disability studies, and have forced the field to be more inclusive of different perspectives and positions in society. Moreover, disability studies most often focuses on issues around people with physical, rather than cognitive disabilities. One major challenge for the future of disability studies is the inclusion of the experiences of people with cognitive disabilities and how they shape this emerging field. The learning disability, dyslexia, affects about 3% of people in the US and Canada (Pearce, 2009). It is a hidden disability because it is not plainly apparent to the casual observer. It affects women and men in equal numbers (Edonds, 2005), and is caused by the brain processing words in an atypical manner (Kas, 2013). Since the basic sound units of a language are referred to as phonemes, the technical


Graduate Student Journal term for processing language at the acoustic level is called phonological processing (Slaughter, 2001). Current research suggests that dyslexia is caused by a deficit in areas of the brain involved with rapid processing of auditory signals (Shapiro & Rich, 1999). Through my assessment testing, I learned that non-native English speakers process English phonology more slowly that native speakers because the brain processes sounds from the native language faster than sounds from another languageâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s phonological system. This paper proposes that the negative impact of not being correctly diagnosed with a learning disability is exacerbated by the factors of gender and language (in)ability. These factors tend to make the diagnosis of a disability and subsequent opportunities to address it less likely. Further, the lack of local language expertise makes it likely that NESB women will face discrimination and a lack of educational and professional opportunities just as their physically disabled peers do. While an archetypal physical disability is visible, learning disabilities are hidden. Because of the occult nature of their condition, the learning disabled women may instead be simply labeled as less intelligent. Dyslexia can trigger a different kind of marginalization than a physical disability. Women are already marginalized. Their educational and employment opportunities are not equal to that of men. The additional marginalization caused by the disability further limits those educational and employment opportunities. The psychological impact of multiple oppressions can create further obstacles. People with disabilities require internal validation in order to seek accommodation. This is often very difficult for disabled women with NESB since they may have accepted the negative labels with an internal oppression that becomes a barrier to seeking a diagnosis. Many women with dyslexia are functioning in society and are afraid to ask for accommodation educationally or professionally, because of a reasonable fear that others may not believe that the disability is real. Some people believe that disabilities are often faked in order to receive an accommodation. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Individuals with learning disabilities are routinely questioned as to whether they use their disability to avoid working hard,


College of Ethnic Studies often are perceived as less intelligent, and are placed in segregated classroomsâ&#x20AC;? (McDonald, 2007, pp.145-161). I recently experienced this first hand with my undergraduate semester abroad. I attended a very selective public university and I found that the administration considered my claims of learning disability incredible; I had been accepted, and so they did not believe that a learning disabled person would be qualified to attend their institution. Women from non-English speaking backgrounds may not be able to self identify with a learning disability. â&#x20AC;&#x153;When one is dyslexic, there is always a gap between what one knows and what one can do. Learning a foreign language provides one more example of this discrepancyâ&#x20AC;? (Simon, 2000, p.159). They may not even be familiar with the concept of a learning disability. The opportunity for early diagnostic testing may not have been available in their home country. Also, the potential stigma of a positive test result may be too much of a social risk for the family (Furrow, 2010). As a consequence of not a receiving a diagnosis and early intervention, women with leaning disabilities often develop self esteem issues due to their inability to progress academically with peers or to follow social norms. This low self-esteem may make the woman less likely to strive for education or work. She may assume that learning a second language like English is beyond her ability. Professional diagnostics of many learning disabilities can be complex. The woman may not know that she has the disability or her internal oppression may force her to hide it, such as by avoiding situations requiring reading or mathematics. Learning a foreign language is difficult even without a learning disability. Without sufficient language proficiency, she may not be able to seek out the information to allow her to self-identify, to find assistance or to be professionally tested. Unlike disabilities that are obvious and allow identification by health care providers and social workers, the learning disabled rarely come to the attention of professionals without some level of self-identification. This inability to identify early and subsequently treat learning disabilities leads to lost opportunities for the individual and society. Early intervention for children with learning disabilities is critical


Graduate Student Journal to maximizing educational opportunities and minimizing internal oppression. â&#x20AC;&#x153;An important misconception about learning disabilities held by Asian parents is the notion of curability and that the marriage of the person with a learning disability may alleviate the condition. Channabasavanna et al. (1985) found that neither the severity of disability nor the socio-economic status of the parents had any effect on this attitudeâ&#x20AC;? (Oâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;Hara, 2003, p.3). In some societies, these disabilities would subject one to poverty and in some cases societal abandonment and death. In cultures where intervention is available, the disabled still can meet with significant hurdles in receiving care. In the US, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requires that reasonable accommodations be made for the disabled in educational and professional contexts, but it is unlikely that the immigrant NESB woman would be aware of or able to understand her rights under the ADA without the intervention of professionals. Many women from NESB fail to develop English literacy skills. With record levels of immigration to the US, these women are a growing part of the population in need of basic education services. While US courts have defended the rights of the learning disabled to education and professional opportunities, US law does not require the routine testing of immigrants for learning disabilities. US Courts have heard many cases involving the learning disabled. One can only imagine how the lack of language expertise can impact testimony in such cases. The learning disability may keep her from the knowledge that would allow her to be able to self-identify, which in turn keeps her from the opportunities to learn the dominant language that would be available if she were able to self identify. This cycle can continue indefinitely, making it more difficult or impossible to find methods of mitigating the disability. Often, life-long underemployment is a common result (Zimmerman, 2006). Parin Dossa is a professor of Anthropology at Simon Fraser College in Vancouver, Canada. She is an expert in social-inequality; her research focus is the intersection of social inequality, gender, and health,


College of Ethnic Studies as well as the effects governmental policies have on them collectively. She has been widely published. The following women’s stories are taken from those publications as examples. Fahimeh’s Experience Fahimeh is an Iranian-born disabled woman who immigrated to Canada when she was 49 to join her husband. She lost her leg in childhood in a car accident and has used a wheelchair ever since. In an interview published in Disability and Society magazine, Fahimeh describes some of her experiences. At the time of the interview, she had been in Canada for just one year. She described a lack of social support from friends and family, and lamented that her husband’s earnings were too low to afford them the same lifestyle that she had in Iran. This combination of circumstances made her feel very vulnerable. Her only consistent contact was a social worker that she did not trust to ensure that she is informed of all of the social services offerings. Her lack of English proficiency may have been a factor in difficulty understanding the social worker’s description of services. She related one instance where her vulnerable position caused her heightened tension. Her wheelchair broke and she was not able to convey the urgency of her need for mobility. She was instead relegated to the sofa for the two weeks it took for the repairs to be completed. Mehrun’s Experience Another example of these compounded oppressions is Mehrun, a Ugandan émigré to Canada, who was permanently disabled by polio. Mehrun’s interview was published in Social Science and Medicine magazine. She immigrated when she was 28 years old. Mehrun diligently worked her way through the social service system, insistent that her needs be met. She was very assertive and insisted that social workers understand her needs. She tirelessly “worked the system” and she is now a social worker focused on providing support for the disabled. She now feels that her peers cannot accept her as a social worker because they saw her as a client.


Graduate Student Journal She feels that she now faces oppression from her coworkers because they don’t accept her as a peer. She states “They were happy to learn that I had graduated from the university but they found it hard to accept me as a colleague” (Dossa, 2005, p.55). She suspects it is because of a combination of her race and disability She cites this as an example of where her various identities of “disabled,” “woman,” and “racial minority” are sometimes seen independently and sometimes collectively. Teresa’s Experience An interview with Teresa, a documented Mexican immigrant to the US, was published in the World Institute on Disability. She was born in Guadalajara, Mexico and moved to the US as an adult. After moving to the US, Teresa gave birth to Olivia, who was born with Phenylketonuria or PKU, a rare genetic metabolic disorder that prevents the digestion of foods that contain the amino acid phenylalanine. Because of her limited English skills, Teresa did not understand that she was eligible to receive prenatal care and other medical services through Medicaid. She was unable to establish an adequate professional relationship with her non-Spanish-speaking doctor because they had trouble communicating. This communication barrier contributed to Olivia’s condition going undiagnosed for nearly a year. The resulting lack of treatment resulted in Olivia’s mental retardation and several permanent disabilities, which were otherwise completely preventable with dietary vigilance. Once she increased her English-language proficiency, Teresa’s life improved, as she learned the process to apply for Medicaid. Health care providers face growing challenges to ensure that patients with limited English proficiency (LEP) have adequate language assistance. Bilingual interpreters and translated written materials at local hospitals and health clinics are absolutely necessary; otherwise, first generation monolingual women won’t be able to understand the providers or cooperate with medical treatments. A report by The Access Project highlights the need for interpreter services at medical centers (Andrulis, Goodman, & Pryor, 2002). Almost all LEP respondents to an on-site survey said that interpreters were not readily available. Only


College of Ethnic Studies 4% of these respondents said they noticed signs in the waiting area in Spanish, and only 15% said they were given written information in Spanish (Andrulis, An, & Pryor, 2001). One of six respondents said that either they did not understand or were not provided Spanish instructions for taking their medications. More research is needed on medical errors and adverse consequences associated with having no or untrained interpreters for LEP children and their families. These personal experiences represent cases where the disadvantage of having one or more disabilities is compounded by also being a non-English speaking woman. Each womanâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s disability and cultural background are an aspect of who she is and no single component can be removed and still leave the woman complete. Audre Lorde (1984) described this need for wholeness in Sister Outsider: I find myself constantly being encouraged to pluck out some aspect of myself and present this as a meaningful whole, eclipsing or denying the other parts of self. But this is a destructive and fragmenting way to live. My fullest concentration of energy is available to me only when I integrate all the parts of who I am, openly, allowing power from particular sources of my living to flow back and forth freely through all my different selves, without the restrictions of externally imposed definition. (p. 121) The interviews cited here reinforce Lordeâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s perspective that the individual self identifies and that identity is a comprehensive mix of the body, oneâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s capabilities and experiences integrated into a shared, inseparable perspective. A review of relevant research Lina Pane is a disabled feminist writer and speaker with expertise in the disability field as a leader, social worker, and as a published researcher. Her work illustrates that the experience of women with disabilities is not recognized, no matter what background they come from. In 2003, Pane studied ten NESB women of various ages with


Graduate Student Journal disabilities who came from sundry cultures. They shared a common trend in that they all were in support professions: as social workers, teachers or community development workers. Most of their disabilities were acquired after birth, ranging from seven months to thirty-nine years, either through sickness, accident or deterioration. Four of the women had a congenital disability. Overall, the women shared a similar experience in matters pertaining to family relationships, as their parents’ attitude towards them ranged from being loving and supportive to being over-protective (Pane, 2003). In the study, five non-NESB women with disabilities were interviewed as well to find out their attitudes towards NESB women with disabilities. Overall, the responses from the women were quite positive, as they seemed to understand the issues of disabled NESB women. Another similarity in the response of the non-NESB women is that they recognized that a woman with a disability has a double disadvantage, and if you are from a non-English speaking background, then you have a triple disadvantage (Pane, 2003). Another study exploring the complex relationships between disability and other aspects of identity is “Diversity in disability: Exploring the interactions between disability, ethnicity, age, gender and sexuality” by Donna Molloy, Tim Knight and Kandy Woodfield. This study looked at the interaction of different characteristics on disabled persons’ lives, focusing on the relevance of concepts such as ‘compounded’ or ‘multiple’ disadvantage. The findings concluded that participants broadly believed that progress had been made in society and that opportunities for disabled people from all groups had substantially increased. They all felt that identity is a complex concept although not all thought of themselves as ‘disabled’ or saw their disability as a pivotal aspect of their identity (Molloy, Knight & Woodfield, 2003). Other findings were that people varied as to whether, and how, they felt they had experienced disadvantages resulting from their disability, gender, age, ethnicity or sexuality. The causes of such discrimination were widely assumed to be ignorance, fear and a lack of awareness on the part of those responsible. The impacts of discrimination were


College of Ethnic Studies thought to be: lowered self-esteem/confidence, decreased trust, restricted opportunities to fully participate in key areas of life and ongoing effects on physical and mental health. Disabled people access a wide variety of services and support. The process of identifying and accessing support was perceived to be overly complex and time consuming, to the extent that some people didn’t even attempt it. Language capability is one critical aspect of information gathering. In some cases, language barriers made the experience too difficult. Language structures the meaning of communication and contributes to a sense of belonging (Sue & Sue, 1999). We think and feel in our first language. Using a second language, especially for communication of culturally sensitive concepts can block thoughts and emotions (O’Hara, 2003). The care-recipients routinely criticized the lack of information about services and support for disabled people. People reported that they were unable to determine what, if any, local services were available to them. Generally, while there was praise for services and support that had been successfully accessed, there were feelings of resentment towards the discrimination and prejudice they had experienced when the services could not be accessed. In some cases, clients felt that that the social services agencies lacked an understanding of the diversity of disabled people. “Communicating with people in a language other than their first language can affect our sensitivity to their attitudes and values” (Shah, 1992, p.164). These studies indicated that NESB women with disabilities had an especially difficult time in locating and receiving social services. Presentation of Findings/Analysis Due to women’s lesser power in society, they are Lordean “outsiders.” Their thoughts, opinions, and contributions are marginalized, and they are, in general, oppressed. Women with disabilities are more oppressed. The literature has referred to this combination of the oppressions of patriarchy and normality as “double oppression” (Ghai, 2003). Further, women with disabilities, without local language skills are even more oppressed. These intersecting inequalities of power produce a


Graduate Student Journal layered oppression, where each layer becomes more repressive and more difficult to counter. Their disabilities, and in the case of NESB women, their lack of English proficiency, combined with unfamiliarity with available social services contributes to their not receiving all required services. Many societies see the disability first and the woman second. This leads to a situation of being defined by a lack of normalcy, an imperfection (La Fontaine, 2003). Minority groups themselves are by definition outside the norm and in some cultures are not well accepted. Disabilities are not seen as an inherent part of the human condition, something that will occur to each of us if we live long enough, but rather as something that is uniquely wrong/defective about the individual with the disability. “It is, then, the various interactions between bodies and world that create disability from the raw material of human variation and precariousness” (Garland-Thomson, 2001, p.7). Using the interpretation of disability as human variation is a strategy to put the women’s identity first, before the disabled identity. Capitalism’s focus on the ability to produce creates additional challenges to society’s inclusion of the disabled. The problem is vast. World-wide about 10% of the population have a disability. In the United States: As indicated in Table 1, Disability Status, All Ages, by Race/Ethnicity and Sex, 1991-92, reported data indicates [that] 26,020 million females, or 20.2% of the female population, are disabled, as compared to 22,916 million men or 18.7% of the male population. Not only are more women disabled, but also they are more severely disabled with 14,187 million or 11.0% of women as compared with 9,929 million or 8.1% of men reported as severely disabled (Bradsher, 1996, p.2). Legislators now recognize that it is important to address the needs of the disabled. “Worldwide, policy makers and legislators have begun to recognize that it is economically and politically realistic and important to address the needs of the approximately 10% of all people who have disabilities” (Fairchild & Quinn, 2000, pp. 2-3) These have been several significant conferences held to focus on the needs of the


College of Ethnic Studies disabled including the Beijing Women’s Conference, the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights, and the Convention on Elimination of all forms of Discrimination. It is clear that the ability to provide the right types of services to disabled women with NESB will require substantial work and investment. Both governmental policy and NGO programs will be required to reach the level of efficiency and effectiveness needed to meet the needs of these women. Where do we go from here? Social workers need to act at both the macro and micro levels. Support for both direct client intervention and policy changes, including increased funding is crucial. They must be willing to assist women with disabilities in concrete (and often financial) ways, possibly following the ongoing theoretical work on asset programs and their use in social development models (“Models of disability,” 2007). They must also be prepared to serve as advocates to ensure that appropriate, helpful, adequately funded legislation and policies are developed, passed, implemented, and evaluated. This requires an understanding of the needs of the women, the political climate in which we are attempting to work, and the inner workings of the economic environment. Many of the steps required to move forward have been identified in research, presented to wide audiences at conferences and are well documented. In 1995, the Fourth World Conference on Women was held in Beijing, China. During this conference the Disabled People’s International (DPI) women’s committee lobbied for the concerns of women with disabilities to be reflected in the Beijing “Platform for Action.” Twelve core areas of concern were adopted as the focus for efforts to improve the lives of women and girls: human rights of women, poverty, education and training of women, the economy, women in power and decision-making, women and the environment, violence against women, the girl child, women and armed conflict, the media, women and health, and the institutional mechanisms for the advancement of women. Some NESB women with disabilities require direct assistance with language and physical access. The availability of relevant consumable information is a challenge. Forms and descriptions of


Graduate Student Journal services offered must be available in multiple languages. Likewise, physical access is an issue in some locations. Buildings that are used to offer services to disabled persons should all be ADA accessible. If the facilities are not mobile and able to go to the clients, then the transportation needs of the clients must be considered. Is suitable public transportation for the disabled available near the service provider? Is the service providers’ staff culturally aware and able to support the diverse disabled community? Many of these concepts are best supported by inclusion in public policy. In Unison4, a publication of the Canadian federal government outlining an approach to disability issues, suggests that the level of inclusion of disabled persons in society can measure the success of addressing disability issues and citizenship refers to the full inclusion of persons with disabilities. As Held (1991) said …if citizenship involves the struggle for membership and participation in the community, then its analysis involves examining the way in which different groups, classes and movements have struggled to gain degrees of autonomy and control over their lives in the face of various forms of stratification, hierarchy and political oppression. (p. 20) The intent of In Unison is to ensure that persons with disabilities have access to the systems and programs open to other Canadians however it recognizes that “we have a “long way” to achieve the goal of inclusion (“In unison 2000,” 2000). The facts suggest that there are many people with disabilities in Canada who are marginalized. The facts also suggest that people with disabilities embody many differences including age, race and gender. Regardless of age, race or gender, disabled persons are generally unemployed/underemployed and are among the poorest of the poor when compared to non-disabled persons. They are an oppressed minority group. In most countries, including the US and Canada people with disabilities face multiple discriminatory practices, ranging from inaccessible buildings, transportation, information and service systems, to degradation and generally being disregarded.


College of Ethnic Studies The issue of the lack of published research is well established. “…one of the barriers to improving support for persons with disabilities is a lack of data” (“In unison 2000,” 2000, p.59). This is certainly the case in the US. I found significant relevant and timely published research data from studies in England, Canada and Australia but little material from US based research. Because of the lack of data from US based studies on access to social services for NESB women with disabilities additional research is needed to ensure that the available services are comprehensive and utilized. One method to confirm that research is being conducted is to mandate it as a condition of funding for social services. This type of legislation will create policy that can be used to ensure that appropriate funding is available for programs participating in the research. It will make sure that studies are completed that will identify the special and specific needs of disabled NESB women. Conclusion The majority of the world’s disabled persons are women and 10% of women are disabled (Wendell, 1996). Migrations to the western world will continue and women with disabilities will be a part of it. These women initially are an “other” and many will be marginalized unless they receive social assistance. The ability to provide effective and efficient services is a challenge to the social service agencies in part due to a lack of understanding of what this constituency requires. This lack of understanding is in turn due to a deficiency in the amount of research on the needs of these triply oppressed women who are more likely to be victims of poverty, underemployment, inadequate education, and are less likely in general to have access to basic services. As the examples of Tulay, Fahimeh, Mehrun and Teresa show, the problem is highly particular. Many of these immigrant women may not be coming from a social setting where they would have been tested as children for learning disabilities, so they might not realize there is any reason to seek services. Others may not be willing to seek out help because their cultural background may associate this with shame or because they assumed such services were only available to citizens. Others have transportation


Graduate Student Journal or other logistical issues or a fear of deportation. This presents major challenges to social services agencies. How can the agencies get past the linguistic and cultural barriers to reach these disabled non English speaking people to address the logistics of transportation and physical access as well as poverty and violence? How will the agencyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s management and government address the policy and funding issues required to support the agencies in these efforts? These issues and the intersection of race, gender, class, and possibly immigration status if they are not naturalized citizens, deny some immigrant women social services through discrimination. In other cases the women lack agency to access the services or the power to demand these programs in the first place. In order for the US to efficiently manage social service resources to address the needs of this constituency more research needs to be conducted to understand the needs of the triply oppressed. Until such US based research is available, the use of research from relevant foreign studies can be very valuable. The results of the 1994 Australian study â&#x20AC;&#x153;Triple (dis)Advantage: Women with Disabilities from NonEnglish Speaking Backgrounds, Living in Australiaâ&#x20AC;? identified several findings, including the fact that there is a need for more research and documentation, better service provider education and effective collaboration between different social movements (Pane, 1994). Disabled women with NESB are best served by having policy and services easily understandable and available. While many service providers are adapting with these advocacy programs it is at the cost of direct service negatively impacting many of those that need the services the most. This paper argues that US social services agencies need to proactively consider learning disabilities when interacting with nonEnglish speaking women. They need to recognize that her native country may not have had the capability to diagnose her, and that because of low expectations caused by her internal oppression she may not have had the ability to seek out opportunities to allow her to self identify as learning disabled. The current systems do not meet the needs of women with


College of Ethnic Studies learning disabilities. Social service agencies need to provide culturally appropriate, adult-centered support. For example, many people with dyslexia don’t drive because they couldn’t pass the written exam to get a driver’s license. They will need transportation options. The necessity for more published research is clearly expressed when Sondra Soloman, speaking on behalf of women with disabilities reports “…the woman with multiple disabilities is a survivor of a triple-edged discrimination. It is impossible to report at this time how women cope...since no studies have reported experience or perceptions. The literature has failed to address the experience of this unique group” (Solomon, 1993, p.99). The very lack of available research is a clear indicator of the marginalization affecting these women. A more comprehensive acceptance of these common objectives would support a more inclusive movement since, “Femininity and disability are inextricably entangled in western culture…. Female bodies---all female bodies---are deviant from the “norm” of maleness” (Thomson, 2005, p.286). The feminist and disability movements have not yet recognized the common cause that these women represent. While both movements claim to strive for equal opportunity, they appear to not be completely inclusive of members of the other minority. References Andrulis, A., Goodman, N., & Pryor, C. (2002, April). What a difference an interpreter can make health care experiences of uninsured with limited English proficiency. Retrieved from interpreter_can_make.pdf Andrulis, D., Christina, A., & Pryor, C. (2001, January). Getting health care when you are uninsured: A survey of uninsured patients at the regional medical center in Memphis, Tennessee. Retrieved from Arnade, S., & Heafner, S. (2006, January). Women with disability experience more discrimination than men. Retrieved from


Graduate Student Journal php?option=com_content&view=article&id=64:-womenwith-disability-experience-more-discrimination-thanmen&catid=22:movements-within&Itemid=229 Bradsher, J. (1996). Disability among racial and ethnic groups. Informally published manuscript, Disability Statistics Center, University California San Francisco, San Francisco, Retrieved from Dossa, P. (2005). Racialized bodies,disabling worlds‘‘they[service providers] always saw me as a client, not as a worker’’. Social Science & Medicine, 60(11), 2527–2536. Retrieved from socscimed.2004.11.011 Edonds, J. (2005). Disabled people and development. Informally published manuscript, The Harvard Law School Project on Disability, The Harvard Law School, Cambridge, Massachusetts, Available from The Harvard Law School. Retrieved from Emanuel, J. (2000). Breaking the power of discrimination. Informally published manuscript, Institute on Community Integration, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN, Available from Impact. Retrieved from impact/133/over4.html Fairchild, S., & Quinn, P. (2000, July). Socio-empowerment issues for women with disabilities. CASSW Pre-Conference symposium on women Cassw pre-conference symposium on women, Montreal, Canada. Retrieved from Federal/Provincial/Territorial Ministers Responsible for Social Services (Canada). Human Resources Development, (2000). In unison 2000.Human Resources Development Canada. Fine, M., & Asch, A. (1988). Women with disabilities:essays in psychology, culture, andpolitics. (p. 10). Philadelphia, PA: Temple University Press. Retrieved from


College of Ethnic Studies com/dp/0877226695/ref=rdr_ext_tmb Fisa Foundation. (2012, July). Access to healthcare for women & girl with disabilities. Retrieved from Furrow, T. (2010, May 10). []. Immigrant women with disabilities. Garland-Thomson, R. (2002). Integrating disability, transforming feminist theory. National Women’s Studies Association, 14(3), 1-32. Retrieved from journals/nwsa_journal/v014/14.3garland-thomson.html Ghai, A. (2003). (dis)embodied form issues of disabled women. (1 ed.). New Delhi, India: Har Anand Publications Pvt. Ltd. Hans, A., & Patri, A. (2003). Women disability and identity. (1 ed.). New Delhi, India: Sage Publications. Held, D. (1991). Between state and civil society: Citizenship. London, England: Lawrence and Wishat. Kas, S. (2013, February 07). [Web log message]. Retrieved from http:// La Fontaine, M. (2003). An analysis of the global human genetics fix. New Delhi, India: Sage Publications. Lorde, A. (1984). Sister outsider. Trumansburg, NY: Crossing Press. McDonald, K. E., & Keys, C. B. (2007). Disability, race/ethnicity and gender: themes of cultural oppression, acts of individual resistance. American Journal of Community Psychology, 39, 145–161. Retrieved from Balcazar_March_2007.pdf Models of disability. (2007). Retrieved from http://www.copower. Molloy, D., Knight, T., & Woodfield, K. the Department for Work and Pensions under license from the Controller of Her Majesty’s Stationery Office by Corporate Document Services, (2003). Diversity in disability: exploring the interactions between disability, ethnicity, age, gender and sexuality (188). Retrieved


Graduate Student Journal from The Charlesworth Group website: http://webarchive. / rports2003-2004/rport188/inside.pdf Munyi, C. W. (2012). Past and present perceptions towards disability: A historical perspective. Retrieved from article/view/3197/3068 Oâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;Hara, J. (2003). Learning disabilities and ethnicity: achieving cultural competence. Retrieved from content/9/3/166.full Pane, L. (2003). (dis)embodied form issues of disabled women. (8 ed.). New Delhi, India: Har-Anand Publication. Pane, L. (1994). Triple disadvantage: Women with disabilities from non-English speaking backgrounds living in Australia. Retrieved from Pearce, T. (2009, September 10). Dyscalculia. Retrieved from http:// Raj, F. (2012, December 02). Double disadvantage. The Hindu. Retrieved from society/double-disadvantage/article4156589.ece Shah, R. (1995). The silent minority: Children with disabilities in asian families . (2nd ed., p. 164). London, England : Natl Childrens Bureau. Shapiro, J., & Rich, R. (1999). Facing learning disabilities in the adult years. (1 ed.). New York, NY: Oxford University Press. Simon, C. S. (2000). Dyslexia and learning a foreign language: A personal experience. Annals of Dyslexia, 50, 155-187. Social Union Government Canada, (2000). In unison 2000. Retrieved from Social Union website: Unison2000/unisonengpart1.pdf Soloman, S. (1994). Women and physical distinction: A review of the literature and suggestions for intervention. Women & Therapy: A Feminist Quarterly , 14(3/4), 91-103. Warhol-Down, R., & Herndl, D. (2009). Feminisms redux: An anthology of literary theory and criticism. Piscataway, NJ:


College of Ethnic Studies Rutgers University Press. Retrieved from com/books?id=ZuisMJOOsbEC&pg=PA492 Wendell, S. (1996). The rejected body: Feminist philosophical reflections on disability. New York, NY: Rutledge. Zimmerman, E. (2006, December 17). On the job, learning disabilities can often hide in plain sight. The New York Times. Retrieved from html?pagewanted=all&_r=0 (Endnotes) 1 A multiple minority group is a group of people who are singled out from others in the society in which they live for differential and unequal treatment because they are defined as members of more than one minority group and who therefore regard themselves as objects of this combination of collective discrimination (Deegan 10) 2 What makes a person a member of multiple minorities or of being triply oppressed? Is it only the simultaneous membership in more than one group? Is it the treatment that members receive? Is it the perception of the member of that treatment? Given that social movements exist within a hegemonic structure what does that mean for inclusion and the concept of diversity? 3 Relevant research about the availability of access to social services for NESB women with disabilities in the US is difficult to locate due to a lack of published studies. Since studies on the social service needs of women with disabilities in Canada, England and Australia closely mirror the results of the studies of women with disabilities in the US we will assume that the needs of NESB women with disabilities would also be similar and thus pr oppose that the results of the nonUS based studies are relevant to the US. 4 A Canadian approach to disability issues, a vision paper. Federal Provincial/Territorial Minister Responsibilities for Social Services


Graduate Student Journal

African Identities in India and Sri Lanka Sureshi Jayawarden

ABSTRACT This paper situates the existing body of literature about the Siddis of India and the Kaffirs of Sri Lanka based on four major areas that require critical examination: A Historic Overview of African Dispersion in the Indian Ocean Region; Existing Scholarship on the Siddis and Kaffirs; Issues in the Discourse of Existing Scholarship; and The Afrocentric Paradigm in Studying the Diaspora. In taking a critical look at the existing literature on these groupsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; historical, cultural, and social conditions, it is evident that the Siddis and Kaffirs exist in spaces where the negotiation of a Diasporic identity specific to the Indian Ocean region is driven by memory, passage of tradition, cultural survival and transformation. The literature reviewed here explores how central a role worldview plays in studying Africana people. In analyzing the existing body of scholarship on the Siddis and Kaffirs, the limitations of this literature are revealed. Ultimately, this literature review aims to illustrate the importance and necessity for culturally grounded approaches to studying Africana people throughout the Diaspora and to introduce the Afrocentric Paradigm in the specific study of the Siddis and Kaffirs.


College of Ethnic Studies This essay deals with the major themes and debates found in the literature on the Siddis and Kaffirs. It provides a critical review of literature regarding the Siddis and Kaffirs, people of African origin in India and Sri Lanka. The review that follows is inclusive of both historical and contemporary scholarship. Historical documentation is found largely in Van Sertima and Rashidi (1995), African Presence in Early Asia and Harrisâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; (1971) The African Presence in Asia. More recent works by Obeng (2007; 2011), Alpers (2000), de Silva Jayasuriya (2003; 2009), Lovejoy (2009), Zeleza (2005; 2008), and Orser Jr. (1998), which examine the contemporary significance of these dispersed African populations are also reviewed. This review has four major sections: A Historic Overview of African Dispersion in the Indian Ocean Region; Existing Scholarship on the Siddis and Kaffirs; Issues in the Discourse of Existing Scholarship; and The Afrocentric Paradigm in Studying the Diaspora. These sections discuss the history of African dispersion across the Indian Ocean and particularly to India and Sri Lanka, the scope of the existing body of literature on these populations, identifiable issues in the discourse of contemporary research, and the usefulness of the Afrocentric paradigm as a necessary analytical tool in the study of people of African descent in general and also for future scholarship of the Siddis and Kaffirs. The review concludes with a summary and critique of the existing literature, followed by a discussion of the specific research question and hypotheses suggested by the review and examined in this study. A Historic Overview of African Dispersion in the Indian Ocean Region The African Diaspora in the Indian Ocean refers to the movement of Africans south of the Sahara to non-African lands in the Indian Ocean (de Silva Jayasuriya and Pankhurst, 2003). This movement led to the Indian Ocean becoming a site of multi-directional movement (de Silva Jayasuriya, 2009; Alpers, 2007). de Silva Jayasuriya (2009) notes that prior to European involvement in the slave trade, â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;Arabs and Indians had already been engaged in intra-Indian Oceanic trade - and African


Graduate Student Journal migration, both forced and voluntary” (pg. 37). de Silva Jayasuriya and Pankhurst (2003) demonstrate that the African Diaspora in this region, specifically in India and Sri Lanka, was not completely a consequence of the movement of unwilling migrants. Factors that motivated this migration include trade, settlement and the movement of Africans in search of employment opportunities. Harris (1971) states that one of the approaches used by the British to suppress the slave trade was to free slaves and settle them in different Asian communities. For example, an Arab ruler would occasionally free an enslaved African who had shown unusual heroism in battle or who had saved the life of a relative or friend or one who had been treated with unusual cruelty at the hands of his\ her master (Harris, 1971). However, what is meant by the reference to “unusual heroism” is unclear. The voluntary movement of men, women, and children from Africa to the Indian Ocean region was also a result of trade relations in as early as the 5th century (de Silva Jayasuirya, 2003). For example, “in the fifth century, when Sri Lanka was an emporium in the Indian Ocean Abyssinians were trading in Mätota (a northwestern province)” (de Silva Jayasuirya, 2009). de Silva Jayasuriya and Pankhurst (2003) also note that the Africans who migrated across the Indian Ocean to India and Sri Lanka fulfilled specifics roles such as “...policemen, traders, bureaucrats, clerics, bodyguards, concubines, servants, soldiers and sailors...” (pg. 07). Therefore, by the 13th century, the Kaffirs were recruited as warriors (de Silva Jayasuriya, 2003). What is key here is that the fate of this eastward dispersal of Africans is radically different than that of those involved in the westward dispersion of the Transatlantic slave trade. Enslavement of Africans was widespread in the ancient world. Migration across the Indian Ocean has gone on for about two millennia (de Silva Jayasuriya, 2009; Alpers, 2000). Africans were brought to the Indian subcontinent as slaves on Arab dhows, which is the term used to refer to traditional Arab sailing vessels (de Silva Jayasuriya, 2009). de Silva Jayasuriya and Pankhurst (2003) assert that “East Africa, Madagascar, the Sudan and Ethiopia supplied slaves via the Red and Arabian Seas, to many countries in the East, including Egypt, Arabia,


College of Ethnic Studies Mesopotamia, Persia, and India” (pg. 09). Evidence suggests that “as early as the third century, Omani Arabs settled on the Makran coast [what is now Pakistan] and became important slave dealers and middlemen, feeding the South Asian demand” for African slaves (de Silva Jayasuirya, 2009). By the 11th century, regular networks of slave routes had become established across the Indian Ocean with demand for slaves having rapidly increased since the 4th century. Scholars also refer to the Moroccan traveler, Ibn Battuta, who visited India and Sri Lanka in the 14th century and observed several hundred Abyssinians in both locations (Alpers, 2007 de Silva Jayasuriya, 2009; Harris, 1971; Pankhurst, 2003). An explanation for this increase might be that African migration across the Indian Ocean was stimulated by European entry into African and Asian sea-based territories for trading activities (cf. de Silva Jayasuriya, 2009). However, the fact that involuntary African migration to the region at the hands of European traders relied on existing slavery systems cannot be used to justify the increased demand and networks of slavery throughout the world. Pankhurst (2003) asserts that “unlike Negro slaves in the New World, slaves in Muslim India [and Sri Lanka] were largely free from racial discrimination” (pg. 191). However, stratification based on caste restrictions both historically and in the present day particularly in Indian society, adds to the complexities of the experience and status of the Siddis. The word “‘caste’ comes from the Portuguese word ‘casta,’ which itself derives from the Latin castus, meaning ‘pure’ and ‘unstained,’ notably in terms of sexual purity, that is, ‘chasteness’” (Prashad, 2000, pg. 96). Drewal (2004) presents the overlapping issues with marginalization among the Siddis differently, noting how prejudices on the basis of race, caste, and religious affiliations among some Indians have worked to denigrate, marginalize, and victimize the Siddis. The heightened marginalization over the years has led to the Siddis making their own efforts to distance themselves from larger society and become an independent community (Basu, 2003; Drewal, 2004). The multiplicity of these issues speak to the overarching status distinction among the Siddis due also to the “...historical circumstances and sociocultural


Graduate Student Journal matters [which have] created very different experiences and identities for African peoples and their descendants in India” (Drewal, 2004, pg. 145). Therefore, as far as the visual diversity of Indian society, “being dark, the Siddis…fall into those groups associated with lower castes. Along with colour, their physical features mark them as inferior according to the dominant Indian (Western influenced?) aesthetic ideal of long, straight hair, thin nose and lips” (pg. 146). Though perhaps influenced by Western ideals of beauty, this system of inferiority based on physical features in present day Indian society is radically different than racebased discrimination found in the West. Basu (2003) notes that the unique social situation of the Siddis lends itself to this community doing things differently from their neighbors. As a result of this, Basu (2003) avers that: the evocation of social difference...[which] is not a unique feature of African Diaspora conditions...[and instead] is part and parcel of the social order in South Asia, where everybody belongs to a social category in the sense of ‘kind, type, genus’ which is translatable as caste (jati). (pg. 224) The caste system in India is believed to be the longest surviving system of social hierarchy (Prashad, 2000). In the late 1700s European colonizers used the word ‘caste’ to describe the varna and jati systems because these social organizations appeared to be perfect replications of the neoAristotelian classification system being pioneered by Carolus Linneaus in Europe (Prashad, 2000). Varna refers to “an ancient textual depiction of a social which four varnas, Brahmin, Kshatriya, Vaishya, and Shudra, represent ideal types of status groups...” and jati refers to “ formations whose principles are localized and various” (Prashad, 2000, pg. 96). In the context of India’s caste system where caste encompasses a complex ordering of social groups on the basis of ritual purity, traditional divisions of labor continue to be based on caste ranking, and as such, has gained attention as a persistent form of descent-based discrimination. Reports by a British merchant in 1610


College of Ethnic Studies refer to Malik Ambar – the most renowned of Siddi commanders in India - and his forces being of the same caste (de Silva Jayasuriya, 2009). Therefore, it is clear that Abyssinians in India were referred to as a ‘caste’ of their own though they were not part of the caste system (de Silva Jayasuriya, 2009). Although they experienced treatment similar to that of the ‘dalits,’ or ‘untouchables’ because of their dark skin color and physical appearance throughout, it was not until 1993, that the Siddis were officially afforded Scheduled Tribe status (Camara, 2004). The ‘dalits’ are the lowest caste in India. Camara (2004) argues that because of the present-day designation at the bottom of the caste hierarchy, the discrimination and marginalization the Siddis experience continues to be reinforced. There appears to be some debate in regards to this among scholars. Basu (2004) contends that when “considered in terms of normal middle class and high caste standards, the Sidi are low and do not require to be treated respectfully yet, they are not normally seen as impure [as are the] untouchable[s]” (pgs. 241-242). Incidentally, as far as phenotype, the ‘dalits’ are of dark skin tone, which has led scholars like Rashidi (1995) to investigate these groups’ African ancestry. de Silva Jayasuriya (2003) points to ethnographer, Bertolacci who observed the Kaffirs in the 1800s and stated that: he could not observe the descendants of the 9,000 Kaffirs recruited to Sri Lanka b y t h e Dutch Government at various times...they were not distinguishable among the then present inhabitants of the island. They had intermarried with the Portuguese Burghers [a Eurasian ethnic group in Sri Lanka]. (pgs. 254-255) This observation illustrates the complexities associated with distinguishing ethnic difference based on phenotype in the accounts of European and other travelers to the region particularly in relation to the emergence of mixed race identities because of intermarriage between different ethnic groups. Africans in India evidently ruled non-Africans (de Silva Jayasuriya, 2009). Enslaved Africans were considered luxury goods


Graduate Student Journal and prestigious commodities due to the caste restrictions on Indians themselves, which led to Africans undertaking tasks Indians could not (de Silva Jayasuriya & Pankhurst, 2003). For example, Africans were “good soldiers and their loyalty was equally valuable” to the Indian elite who were constantly under threat of invasion and had to defend their territories (de Silva Jayasuriya, 2009, pg. 15). Thus, enslaved Africans “...derived power from their proximity to the ruling elite. Royal slaves were often used to control independent constellations of power inside the court, since it centralized power in the hands of the ruler” (de Silva Jayasuriya, 2009, pg. 21). Present day Siddis recall oral histories referencing their ancestors who were bodyguards at the Maharajah’s palace and who often tasted his highness’ food before he proceeded to indulge in his meal (de Silva Jayasuriya, 2009). In addition, enslaved Africans served to boost the social status of their Indian masters in terms of the number of slaves he owned. de Silva Jayasuriya (2003) notes that Africans were brought to Sri Lanka by three different colonial regimes as well: the Portuguese, the Dutch, and the British, starting from the 1500s until 1948 when the island gained independence. de Silva Jayasuriya (2003) explores the extent to which the Kaffirs portray African cultural traits in the present day and how they have maintained their Africanity as a result of this. In order to establish this, de Silva Jayasuriya (2003) looks at cultural maintenance, cultural transformation, and cultural transmission. de Silva Jayasuriya (2003) does this with a surface level understanding of the role of culture in assessing the culture set of language, religion, music, and dance for the Kaffirs. de Silva Jayasuriya (2003) does little to privilege the African experience not only continuous but also evident in various aspects of Kaffir life, often highlighting the social marginalization as a central feature of their lives. For example, in the text, African Identity in Asia, de Silva Jayasuriya (2009) dedicates a chapter entitled, ‘Sounds of Africa,’ using it to “explore the music of displaced peoples and what it can inform us about their past” (pg. 81). In this chapter, de Silva Jayasuriya (2009) hypothesizes that “music and dance are among the best indicators of an African legacy” (pg. 81). Here, the author claims that musical


College of Ethnic Studies traditions are particularly important among African migrants in Asia, who have or are in the process of assimilating to their host countries (de Silva Jayasuriya, 2009). However, the author uses Eurocentric theoretical ideas from cultural and music theorists Shepherd and Wicke (1997) to corroborate her claims about these musical traditions Africans in Asia have retained. Graham (1995) states that enslaved African occupations in Asian territory were generally in military professions such as that of soldiers, bodyguards, garrison forces, commanders, and generals. These occupations were also bureaucratic in that slave officials could be found ranked even in influential ministerial positions in government. Another sphere in which slave occupation was found was in domestic roles such as that of house servants, concubines, and eunuchs. Social mobility was possible for enslaved African in Asia unlike in the Atlantic world. Graham (1995) is explicit in his concern for prejudice (manifesting differently than in the Atlantic world) around the slaving of Africans in Asia, which may not be blatant in a historical exploration but is found in the language used in reference to the groups. For instance, the ethnonym, Habshi, is derived from â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;Al-Habashâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;, an Arabic term for Abyssinia, which indicates that the roots of the people this term has been assigned to are of African origin (de Silva Jayasuriya & Pankhurst, 2003). Existing Scholarship on the Siddis and Kaffirs The leading historian on the African presence in the Indian Ocean region, Alpers (2007) observes that though specific numbers for the Indian Ocean slave trade continue to be elusive, it is estimated that over one million slaves left Mozambique alone. Obeng (2011) notes that Siddis number about fifty thousand in India today. Waltz and Brandt (2006) note that this slave trade drew persons from Eastern, Central, and Southern Africa to different parts of Asia. Many traveled aboard slaving dhows to the principal Indian Ocean slave market at Zanzibar (Alpers, 2007). And, in their host societies in South Asia, many were enslaved and took on numerous and varied roles, serving as soldiers, sailors, field workers, domestic servants, concubines, and pearl divers. Alpers (2007)


Graduate Student Journal notes that Africans who arrived at “their Indian Ocean destinations were armed with their own cultural inheritance (however damaged or affected)...” which underscores their experience of cultural exchange and adjustment from the very moment of their capture to the moment of their initial arrival at external destinations (pg. 36). This exemplifies the complexities associated with the process by which the settlement of these Africans in South Asian societies took place. Harris (1971) notes that total absorption into local societies did not occur because “...[B]lack people have remained in separate, isolated communities” suggesting that “...they have not been in the mainstream of the history of the countries in which they [continue to] reside” despite their “... substantial contributions to the history and culture of their adopted lands” (pg. xii). However, Alpers (2007) argues that while the middle passage in the Indian Ocean may not occupy a central role in the collective memory for the Siddis and Kaffirs, there exist scattered recollections of their forbears and oral histories which bear witness that Africa is still a presence in these communities. Therefore, the general thought that Africans in Asia have been totally absorbed into their host societies is reinforced by Western and Eastern racism in the limited research on Africans in Asia (de Silva Jayasuriya, 2003). This Western and Eastern racism is also present in the copious source material on Asians in Africa and the African descendants in contemporary Asia who have depressed social statuses and poor education (de Silva Jayasuriya, 2003). All of these factors highlighted above make the African Diaspora in the Indian Ocean world less attractive to researchers and also impedes Afro-Asian explications of history. Archaeological accounts of history in the particular dispersion of people of African origin outside of continental Africa is rapidly expanding. This appears to be driven by a heightened fascination of archaeologists in the discovery and archival of archaeological deposits in the region. Their preoccupation is less so with culturally relevant historical interpretations as it is with satisfying the scholarly and intellectual prerogative of historical archeology in order to have specific utility in the explanation of Africans in the Diaspora as displaced peoples.


College of Ethnic Studies Orser Jr. (1998) notes that there are three specific and prominent areas of this research in “the archaeology of cultural identity, the material aspects of freedom from enslavement, and the archaeological examination of race” (pg. 63). A major limitation of this approach to the study of African identity among dispersed people is that the search for material evidence of what Orser Jr. (1998) terms as “Africanisms” (i.e. specific African stylistic traits from what is considered original African cultures which are carried into their new societies in the New World) takes away from the negotiations of identity based on oral traditions, social relations and other forms of cultural transformation and preservation these groups have made in adjustment to their local societies. Issues in the Discourse of Existing Scholarship on the Siddis and Kaffirs Joseph E. Harris was a pioneer in the historical documentation of the migration of Africans to South Asia. Harris’s (1971) text, The African Presence in Asia, is one of the few monographs available that takes into full consideration the African experience of migration to and settlement in India. In this text, Harris (1971) offers an exhaustive account of the East African slave trade as well as other forms of migration to the Indian Ocean region from East Africa. Other historical narratives in this area such as those of Van Sertima and Rashidi (1995) conclude that even the term ‘Diaspora’ cannot as easily be applied to these groups much less models of analysis developed for the Atlantic world. Harris (2003) states that “Africa as homeland, Africans and their descendants, and the adopted residence/home abroad” which is built on many years of voluntary and forced dispersions as well as secondary and tertiary migrations (pg. 158). This consideration of ‘Diaspora’ subsumes a triadic relationship incorporating homeland, lineage, and an adopted host society residence. Another portion of scholarship focuses on interpretive and descriptive histories and cultural recollections. Patterson and Kelley (2000) warn against research that does not view the cultural survival and transformations of African-descended people as central to their identity,


Graduate Student Journal arguing that “thinking of cultural change as a process of ‘destruction’ or loss does more to obscure complexity than to illuminate the processes of cultural formation” (pg. 18). Many of the existing studies on the culture articulation of the Siddis and Kaffirs do not employ approaches that positively centralize the cultural continuity that these communities have labored in sustaining and\or (re)creating in their host societies. Harris (2003) draws attention to the fact that “...cultural continuity does not always manifest itself in readily obvious forms” and while documentation on music and dance on the Siddis and Kaffirs is an important scholarly contribution, “...scholars must still look into issues such as food and eating habits, dress, language, work, and contributions in agriculture and the crafts, [and] the impact of the [B]lack struggle for human rights on the democratic traditions abroad” (pg. 162). Harris (2003) also brings to attention what other contemporary scholars analyzed in this study consider: that Diaspora communities often reinterpret their culture and articulate it in a form that is acceptable to their host societies. It is for this reason that part of the project of critiquing existing approaches to research about the Siddis and Kaffirs is intended to reclaim, reconnect, and record their ways of knowing and being that have been submerged in European and Eurocentric narratives. Gordon and Anderson (2009) suggest a theoretical model developed around African Diaspora in relation to questions of race, culture, and politics which they claim moves away from concentration on imperative features common among the many diverse peoples of African descent. Instead, they claim that focus should be placed on “the various processes through which communities and individuals identify with one another, highlighting the central importance of race – racial constructions, racial oppressions, racial identification – and culture in the making and remaking of Diaspora” (pg. 248). This is important because as Kambon (1998) notes, it encompasses a holistic phenomenal experience that views everything as relational between the person and the experience. Kambon (1998) further notes that while some scholars prefer to think of Diasporic identities and cultures as a form of hybridity, ethnographic approaches to studying dispersed peoples do not merely


College of Ethnic Studies juxtapose this concept with what might be considered the ontological essentialism of Afrocenticity. Rather, these approaches are dismissive of Afrocentricity as a tool for analysis. Lao-Montes (2007) states that some Afrocentric discourses of Africanity construct Africa as an imagined original homeland that provides the roots of sameness among all African people. Chowdhury (1997) problematizes Afrocentricity, Diaspora, and Pan Africanism arguing for a “critical Afrocentrism [which] must re-imagine the cultural priorities that replace great European males with African ones” (pg. 51). While highlighting the Pan African movement’s ability to build connections between communities across global lines of capital, Chowdhury (1997) also dismisses the movement for its exclusivity. LaoMontes (2007) defines Pan Africanism as “a world-historical movement and ideological framework led by activists and intellectuals seeking to articulate a transnational racial politics of [B]lack self-affirmation and liberation” (pg. 311). As such, Lao-Montes (2007) distinguishes between Pan African movements and Diaspora perspectives, noting that the emergence of the former was based on a politics of identity whereas the latter stems from a politics of difference. Chowdhury’s (1997) argument, however, is that the liberation of African people must necessarily be tied to the liberation of other groups of oppressed people. Chowdhury (1997) claims that cultural liberation cannot occur independent of a struggle for economic independence. Chowdhury (1997) calls for a measurement of, what he names the theory of “Afrocentrism,” against not only Eurocentric model but also real political and economic liberation. Alpers (2000) examines some evidence for what he terms as the ‘recollection’ of Africa to articulate the experiences of Afro-Asians and their sense of being and\or belonging to Africa within the Indian Ocean world. The nature of Alpers’ (2005) study necessitates an interrogation of the silencing of African Diaspora that has occurred due to the cultural contexts of the host societies and also in the processes of subaltern knowledge production of the Siddis and Kaffirs. In order to avoid this in future scholarship, Alpers (2000) cautions against the imposition of Eurocentric approaches as well as paradigms developed for the Atlantic


Graduate Student Journal Ocean world of African dispersion on these groups in the Indian Ocean world. Alpers (2000) draws attention to the uniformity in Christian culture and Euro-American domination in the Atlantic world despite the variations in the colonial forces, American nations, and Christian sects. This, in part, has led to the general perception of transatlantic African dispersion as a monolithic Diasporic identity. Concurrently, Alpers (2000) discusses the lack of what he terms a ‘Western-educated intellectual elite’ from the Indian Ocean region which would change not only the way African-descended populations are studied, but would also increase the volume of scholarship of these groups. This contradiction represented by a leading scholar studying Indian Ocean Africandescended people is characteristic of the Euro-American hegemony of education as well as the Eurocentric ideology underpinning this body of scholarship. de Silva Jayasuriya (2005) accurately notes that Sri Lanka’s Kaffirs are a marginalized group having, over time, assimilated to Sri Lankan culture. While their Portuguese-infused hallmarks of linguistics, culture and religious traits are on the decline, their musical elements are vibrant and persistent, signaling a partial Portuguese identity (de Silva Jayasuriya, 2005). Due to significant nationalistic and sociopolitical changes since Sri Lanka gained independence in 1948, the Kaffir identity has been largely defined by and expressed through language, religion, music, song, and dance (de Silva Jayasuriya, 2005). Though de Silva Jayasuriya (2005) asserts that Kaffir self-expression in this way might be misinterpreted as slave resistance, the danger of a reductionist view of their cultural survivals and transformations persists. This threat is exemplified by the increasing popularity of the Kaffirs’ cultural products of song and dance indicating the likelihood of culture commodification due to the commercial value associated with this publicity (cf. de Silva Jayasuriya, 2009; Shroff, 2004; Catlin-Jairazbhoy, 2004). This is problematic on many levels but largely because for the Kaffirs, their culture articulation is one of the few elements of their Africanity speaking to both the history of their migration experience and their African roots. Therefore, the reduction of their Africanity to mere entertainment for


College of Ethnic Studies consumerist society only galvanizes the hegemonic forces stripping them of identity altogether. Zeleza (2008) observes the rise of African Diaspora studies highlighting key causes for this: “transnational migrations and movements, globalization processes and the reconfiguration of nation states” (pg. 04). However, there is also a critical debate in regards to African Diaspora studies (Zeleza, 2008). The particular issues raised here are that this field of study is largely framed by the Atlantic model in which the patterns of African dispersal are in relation to the slave trade and the processes of diasporization and racialization associated with it. Additionally, African scholars are also latecomers to the field because of their extensive focus on transatlantic African dispersion (Zeleza, 2008). Despite the obvious challenges these issues pose, Zeleza (2005) sees the importance of emergent scholars as pivotal in shifting “the terms of debate in terms of their analytical, linguistics, geographical, and racial referents” (pg. 05). Thus, the study of African-descended populations in the Indian Ocean and specifically in India and Sri Lanka present a unique opportunity to shape and change the discourse of African Diaspora Studies.

The Afrocentric Paradigm in Studying the Diaspora The Afrocentric paradigm is advanced in research about Africans on the continent and in the Diasporas as the most culturally appropriate perspective that accurately presents the lives, experiences, and perspectives of people of African descent. Afrocentricity in reference to studying people of African descent is effective as a frame of reference at which point Africana phenomena are viewed from the perspective of the Africana person (Asante, 2003). Thus, Afrocentricity centers on placing people of African descent in control of their lives and attitudes about society (Asante, 2003). In other words, the researcher operating with an Afrocentric perspective examines every aspect of the location and/or dislocation of African people in terms of their culture, economics, psychology, health and religion (Asante, 2003). Thus, Asante (2003)


Graduate Student Journal names Afrocenticity as an intellectual theory for the study of the ideas and events from the perspective of Africans as central and as agents rather than the victims. In this manner, the Afrocentric paradigm becomes what Asante (2003) states is: virtue of an authentic relationship to the centrality of our own reality, a fundamentally empirical is Africa asserting itself intellectually and psychologically, breaking the bonds of Western domination in the mind as an analogue for breaking those bonds in every other field. ( Asante, 1991b, pg. 171) Another Afrocentric mechanism for scholarship on people of African descent lies in Asante’s (2003) Location Theory. Location theory is central to the development of Afrocentric literacy in the study of African Diasporas beyond the Atlantic world and has the potential to change the course of writing on Diasporic peoples in the Indian Ocean region. Asante (2003) identifies three elements of location: language, attitude, and direction, referring to these characterizations as ‘signposts’ of location that allow the Afrocentric critic to determine the author’s cultural address of a given text. Analysis or ‘location’ of the language, attitude and direction of the writers assists in the need to ascertain a narrative’s relevance to the wellbeing of African-descended people the world over. Location theory, therefore, provides for researchers the cultural imperative to forge scholarship in alignment with culturally appropriate approaches to research on the Siddis and Kaffirs of the Indian Ocean African Diaspora. Lovejoy (2009) addresses the role of perspective in examining African dispersion in the particular case of the trans Atlantic slave trade. Lovejoy (2009) asserts the importance of assessing the impact of African backgrounds - often neglected and misunderstood - when dealing with contemporary issues of identity and social problems faced by people of African descent. The experiences of Africans in the Diaspora can, in this way, be compared with those of Africans still on the continent. Lovejoy (209) entertains a discussion about the undeniable value of the discursive placement of ‘Africa’ in scholastic endeavors about dispersed stating that:


College of Ethnic Studies including ‘Africa’ in the discourse, [so that focus is placed on the] culture, language, class, gender, family and ethnic plurality, specifically relating the African background of the enslaved and their descendants to their sense of identity in the Diaspora. (pg. 01) Therefore, the value of the Afrocentric paradigm in the study of African Diasporas is further extended in its application to the study of the Siddis and Kaffirs, which serve to disrupt the Atlantic tunnel vision that permeates African Diaspora Studies. Obeng (2007) gives in-depth analysis to the comprehensive understanding of the socio-cultural backdrop in which the Siddis, a population of African Indians, function in a global culture and have been a part of India’s landscape for centuries. Obeng (2007) highlights the multilingual, religious plurality, and complex racial communities of India and calls attention to the identities, social, economic, and religious activities of the Habshis and Siddis. In considering the fused cultural traits of both home societies and host societies, Obeng (2007) offers analysis of the “process, nature, degree, and context for the mutual shaping between African Indian life-ways and the religious and cultural landscape of India” (pg. xiii). Obeng’s contribution to Diaspora studies is significant because of his considerable focus on the nature and process of the contributions, changing alliances, and relationships, which Diasporic Africans have formed in order to navigate through the milieu of political action in India. The religious experiences and cultural practices of the Siddis hereby offer a context through which to understand how transformations and transference since dispersion generate and regenerate a counter hegemonic framework that allows for Afrocentric analysis. As Alkebulan (2007) notes, an Afrocentric approach to studying Africana people – and therefore, the Siddis and Kaffirs - is characterized by a consciousness of victory and not one of oppression. This consciousness of victory involves reclamation, redefinition, and reconstruction eliminating the need for reactionary forms of knowledge


Graduate Student Journal and art (Welsh-Asante, 2003). A narrative of oppression, on the other hand, is characterized by the denigration of Africans, a White supremacist construction that has been normalized throughout time and the world (Modupe, 2003). A victorious consciousness relates to the Siddis and Kaffirs in that it is a direct reclamation of their identity and experiences as African and continuous. It is also a redefinition of knowledge that as Africana people achievement can and has already been realized among their communities. Finally, it is a starting point for the disruption of narratives of oppression and a reconstruction of a narrative that centers the standpoint of Africana people in shaping discourse about them. However, Alpers (2004) holds a different position and writes that: notwithstanding the work of those Afrocentric scholars [referring to Van Sertima and Rashidi] who regard the African connection as ancient and foundational for Asia...[although] for the most part the meaningful presence of Africans in India probably dates from the rise of Islam, which gave new life to commercial and cultural linkages across the Northwest Indian Ocean... (pg. 27) The Afrocentric paradigm is, therefore, a place from which to challenge the claims of scholars such as Alpers (2004) who problematizes the placement of Africa at the center of analysis. Final Summary Much of the archeology of the African Diaspora is essentially an archeology of the New World (Orser Jr., 1998). The overwhelming attention of archaeologists to the Americas and the Caribbean is evidence that modes of analysis tailored to the particularities of African dispersion in other geographies might be underdeveloped. Applying Eurocentric analytical models that appear to be successful in the Atlantic world to the Indian Ocean world on the simple basis of its success in the Americas is no indication that similarities will be revealed in dispersion patterns or cultural material. Though archaeological investigations make valuable contributions to the material archival of dispersions, the more mundane


College of Ethnic Studies issues of political identity within nationalistic and nation-building movements of the particular host societies tend to be overlooked. de Silva Jayasuriya’s (2005) study of the cultural self-expression of the Kaffirs in Sri Lanka exemplifies how easily reduced a cultural group can become even when the aim of such a study is not so. This is the case when Diaspora Studies are aimed at designating power and legitimating the cultural groups’ own sociopolitical movements. To consider race as a subsidiary of other oppressive forces is to further dichotomize areas of oppression (i.e. class, gender, sexuality). This becomes a process of division rather than an effort to unify people of African descent across the globe in a fashion that serves to question social and political issues around their identity as those of African descent. While critique of African Diaspora Studies and the role of the Afrocentric paradigm within this context is necessary, complete dismissal of a paradigm that sets forth essential elements that fundamentally focuses on the achievement and continuous African experience of Africana people is problematic. Critics of the paradigm such as Adeleke (2009) and Gilroy (1993) present no alternative approach, perspective, theory, or methodology that emphasizes Africana people’s Africanity and consciousness of victory. Furthermore, it leaves researchers and scholars operating within a contentious definition of Diaspora – one that seeks to establish a condition of displacement without addressing the degrees of heterogeneity and multiplicity of Diasporic Africana people. The complexities concerned with defining an African Diaspora are numerous when attempting considerations of origin and identity among dispersed people of African descent. Patterson and Kelley (2000) describe Diaspora as both process and condition. Thus, “as a process it is always in the making, and as a condition it is situated within global race and gender hierarchies” (pg. 11). To understand how Africa is conceptualized in relation to specific Africana people situated in various locations in the Diaspora is an essential question that must be raised. For this reason and others, Graham (1995) notes that undertaking research into the history of Africans in Asia can be complex and arduous. However, Graham (1995) does not hesitate to highlight the sheer potential as well,


Graduate Student Journal asserting that “what we need now is a lot more systematic work on the subject...[through which] the fascinating story of the African Diaspora in Asia can be recovered” (pg. 145). Despite the complexities involved, the need for this systematic work on the African Diaspora in the Indian Ocean is great and in order to open any discussions of identity, researchers must lead with unleashing this potential. Historical recovery alone is not sufficient and researchers must necessarily focus on understanding the effects of the historical migration, integration, and social cohesion on the contemporary situations of the Siddis and Kaffirs. Though historical recognition and recovery are undeniably important in analyzing the cultural productions of Siddi and Kaffir people, keeping in mind that Western hegemony and imperialism are constant forces in both India and Sri Lanka, can avoid reductionist interpretations of these peoples’ sense of being. The objectives of historical recovery can be twofold in that it seeks to ameliorate this danger of capitalist gains and also restores the sense of being and belonging as people of African origin through a Diasporic identity and consciousness. Thus, in order to advance culturally grounded research it is important to analyze the conceptual approaches that have been implemented in the study of the Siddi and Kaffir people of the African Diaspora in the Indian Ocean littoral. Furthermore, how researchers discuss the Siddi and Kaffir people, obvious minorities in their host societies in India and Sri Lanka lends itself to the widening empirical scope of Africana Studies and therefore leads to increasingly cohesive articulations of the concept of African Diaspora. Thus, the cultural relevance of Afrocentricity in locating significant texts in the existing body of literature on these groups is evident. It is proposed in this research paper that a culturally grounded approach to studying the Indian Ocean African Diaspora is essential not only in establishing accurate historical accounts of their history but also to address contemporary issues faced by these communities. WORKS CITED Alkebulan, A. (2007). Defending the paradigm. Journal of Black Studies, 37(3): 410-427. Alpers, E. A. (2000). Recollecting Africa: diasporic memory in the


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