Finding a room for multiracial individuals: Selling Blackness in/as (post) modernity
by Daniel McNeil
M. A. History, University of Toronto
Throughout recorded time, and probably since the end of the Neolithic Age, there have been three kinds of people in the world, the High, the Middle, and the Low…The aims of these three groups are entirely irreconcilable. The aim of the High is to remain where they are. The aim of the Middle is to change places with the High. The aim of the Low, when they have an aim — for it is an abiding characteristic of the Low that they are too much crushed by drudgery to be more than intermittently conscious of anything outside their daily lives — is to abolish all distinctions and create a society in which all men shall be equal.” 'Emmanuel Goldstein', “Ignorance is strength”, Ch. 1, Oligarchical Collectivism, in G. Orwell, Nineteen-Eighty-Four (New York: Knopf, 1992), ch. 17.
[The younger people] want to stand out, instead of just getting on with it you know. You can let people know that you're in the room without having an attitude…They've got this arrogance…They need to have a positive attitude, you can't fight all your life. 'Ada Hall', interviewed by M. Christian, A Case Study of mixed racial origin identity in the city of Liverpool, England: 1918-1996 (Unpublished PhD, University of Sheffield, 1996), p. 55.
The comments of 'Ada Hall' reflect the desires of "respectable", "coloured" citizens, born in the interwar period, to accommodate themselves within the "fitted" lodgings of the British empire. With her pleas for assimilation, 'Ada Hall' commits the treason of “meretricious pseudo-cosmopolitanism,”1 by ignoring the hostile public areas of Liverpool2 (that limited the opportunities for many visible minorities to obtain a suitable chair to make themselves at home) and employing the rhetoric of the “Middle” and “High” in attacking “half-castes,”3 who deigned to challenge the status quo, as “cheeky.”4 Noting Granby, Liverpool in the 1930s, where “every nationality in the world was represented”,5 'Ada Hall' provides ample evidence of a place where “you didn't hear that Black description. And we didn't have anything of this trouble like.”6 A position that allows dominant groups to attach blame to “uppity” blacks or deviant whites,7 is not the only treasonous behaviour of Black intellectuals that can be attacked by astute (self-) critics such as Cornel West and G. E. Clarke.8 Rather, the Black essentialism of individuals such as 'Marlon Hasson' who decried the “dilution of the mind”9 and Black consciousness, can also be denounced as “tendentious, cathartic provincialism.”10 'William Billing' provides a useful link for understanding the shift from “half-caste” to “Blackness” for mixed race individuals in Liverpool, when he comments, “Before the 1970s you just went about your life, you were invisible, but with the Black [civil rights] movement in America [and the large scale immigration of Caribbean-born blacks in the post-World War II period]…I mean that began to focus peoples minds.”11 To provide prominent positions to “ordinary folk” of mixed racial origin, who “do not need an intellectual vanguard to help them speak or tell them what to say,”12 allows researchers to not only denounce the disproportionate location of material resources with the “High”,13 and the choice of tyranny over/with democracy by the “Middle”,14 but avoid assuming the cretinisation of “Low” individuals (by ignoring the context of their demands) and mitigating the real successes of “Low” individuals and groups, even in treasonous behaviour.
In charting the relationships of “mixed”15 individuals with mainstream politicians and Black leaders, and examining the responses of Black intellectuals in America, Britain and Canada to white supremacy (perpetuated by old liberals or the new right) and “double consciousness” (as they speak to/for “the people” as Blacks out of Africa), this paper will engage with national and ethnic identity politics in “late capitalism”.16 To do so, I will first investigate the strategies of the “multiracial movement” in America and its concerns to challenge the demands to “tick one race only”, before returning to examine the identification of individuals with one Black and one White parent in Liverpool, England, and briefly reviewing G. E. Clarke's “duty” to call for a “treasonous” Africadian identity. In charting the promotion of “new” identities by visible minorities, it shall be (dare I say it) essential to engage with their correspondence with not only an imagined Black Atlantic or Afro(Americo)centric ideals, but also their dialogue with/disrupture of white conceptions of the(ir) nation/progressive movement. In shifting across states and spaces, one hopes to outline the rhetoric of destructive difference, before offering creative possibilities for movements that celebrate diversity, in a (mobile) home that does not require iconic captains, succumb to the delights of corporate exoticism, nor drift towards “left melancholia”.17
Multiracial movements in the United States claim to fight “hatred and bigotry regardless of the color of the bigot,”18 and have confronted beliefs in the one-drop rule. Some critics on the (far) right can attack this challenge as another sign of a “leftist conspiracy” against the founding fathers, and attack presumed calls for a “divisive multiracial category”.19 Black organizational groups such as the NAACP have also vehemently attacked any new category that threatened the ability of Black movements to obtain “critical mass”. In response to such opposition, key figures in the “multiracial movement” emphasized that they had never called for a “multiracial category”, or a Cape coloured fate;20 instead (largely) academic leaders have been quick to distance themselves from the grassroots activists who failed “to grasp the subtleties and complexities involved.”21 The AMEA (Association of Multi-Ethnic Americans) sought to work within the parameters of the possible, and called for a tick all that apply approach. With such an approach, the multiracial movement could be courted by the (new) right-wing, as a (largely middle-class) movement committed to choice and calling for a world with “more evolved [mixed] people”22 without “racial chips on their shoulders”23 where “race does not matter” “love conquers all,”24 and all that “happy, touchy-feely talk, which I felt was bullshit,”25 as well as holding a non-committal stance towards affirmative action,26 could meet new right desires for “true” Americans, and win the approval of Republicans such as Newt Gringrich and Ward Connerly, who sought to “dilute racial consciousness” and avoid any “protected class under the law.”27 The libertarian and conservative outcomes of the “New Face of America”28 justifiably aroused fear in “communities of color”, allowing Black thinkers indebted to Marx to continue to cast “mixed-race blacks as pernicious aristocrats-in-hurry and as devious, Kerenskyite, reactionary defenders of the status quo.”29 This strategy not only allows essentialist Blacks to construct an Other from within30 (allowing eternal vigilance and a never-ending war that allows a “Middle”/Black elite to find belonging, as well as entrenching the cult of political leaders, by focusing attention away from their accountability, to their protection of the group against enemies), but does not limit the aims of certain Black groups to “claim” mixed individuals (as census data collectors continue to identify those who tick a number of boxes as “just” a single minority) so as to protect them against white supremacy/bolster the numbers of Blacks,31 and celebrate them as positive role models/make claims on their riches.32 Consequently, multiracial groups, with the potential to “generate a wide and flexible variety of strategies and political tactics,”33 can resort to producing “an almost 'arty', avant-garde, 'new people' for…[the] twenty-first century…that is devoid of the present endemic racism and racialised labeling,”34 suitable for groups who seek to promote a unified nation(al culture), while also failing to adequately challenge ethnic nationalism, in which fears of difference/division collapse into charges of anarchism, produce struggles to preserve an “illusion of unity”35 and ignore socio-economic differences, cultural competition and colourism within the Black community.
As a result, instead of generating its own historical project, the multiracial movement can join groups determined to develop cultural offerings for primary definers,36 allowing the potential for multiple performances by icons (and consumption by those with “cultural capital”), not multiple identities for “Low” individuals,37 as the poor are left to suffer “misfortunes quietly, to slide into weariness and helplessness, and to be put out of sight,”38 and framed as looking for excuses39 and “handouts” due to their failure to achieve (self-sufficiency). Accordingly, the hard-working, tax-paying citizens can be “represented' by middle-brow (and new right) journalists/politicians who work “nine to five”, speak for “ordinary, decent, sensible people”40 and put “across the [“natural”, “common sense”] ideas [of new racism], almost casually in passing, in the course of discussing other issues”.41 Here one can register the dangers of left-wing academic inquiry and Black intellectuals who are distanced from “the people”,42 and the attempts of the new right to highlight and exacerbate this distance with their attacks on “politically correct” obsession with ephemera. In responding to such attacks leftist/Black intellectuals must avoid simply accepting the initial terms of debate and allowing journalists to use terms such as “orgy of miscegenation” that are simply inverted to have positive associations,43 as this allows existing prejudice and intolerance framed round fears of “ravishing” Black men, “lascivious” Black women, “loose” White women, and “poor/delinquent” “half-caste” children (believed to be permitted, or perhaps encouraged, by free loving hippies who cannot control their own sexual urges) to be employed by those engaged in responding to the “leftist conspiracy”. Moreover, the desperate nature of such a preoccupation with cultural labels and inversion of existing terms44 is “another symptom of white supremacy's continuing power,”45 and can fail to pay sufficient attention to highlighting and reducing material racial inequalities,46 and revealing why group action is necessary against white supremacy, without resorting to a construction of Black (trans)nationalism that places intellectuals, “not the people they supposedly represent, in charge of the strategies for nation building, state formation, racial uplift.”47
In “new” Britain, one in twenty Black and Asian people live in districts of low unemployment, compared to one in five White people.48 Liverpool, an area targeted as a priority zone for EU regeneration, had a total unemployment rate of 23.6% (26.7% for Blacks) in 1991.49 Racial inequality in Britain and Liverpool cannot be solely attributed to extreme segregation or a failure to culturally integrate,50 as the Black-other category (the largest Black category in Liverpool, representing mixed race individuals and British-born Blacks) had 84% of its members born in UK (the highest number of any ethnic group in 1991 census), and the second lowest Index of Dissimilarity (19) in comparison with white group, yet it had higher unemployment rates than white, Indian and Black Caribbean ethnic groups.
In response to their socio-economic situation, Liverpool-born Blacks (a term coined in an attempt to avoid the stigma attached to “half-caste”) can adopt the discourse of the new right, not by attacking affirmative action, but by blaming “new” immigrants (ie. “New Commonwealth” immigrants who arrived after World War II) for Liverpool's decline, opining, “the poorer type of West Indies came over with a chip on their shoulders”.51 As a result of their continuing socio-economic disadvantage and historical-cultural context that involves “more mixing”,52 Liverpool-born Blacks do not simply assimilate into the British way of life, nor essentialism based on a darker-skin tone, but can remain an exclusive group by virtue of their emphasis on birthright, and join “new right” thinkers who assume that “those who are indigenous very naturally think that they should have better opportunities in their native land than those who have just arrived or who are descendents of recent arrivals”53 (emphasis mine). One must observe Liverpool-born Blacks challenge to white conceptions of the nation with their successful installation of an exhibit documenting the Slave trade in the Liverpool Maritime Museum; however, it is also important to note their opposition to the “old left” that failed to place race on their agenda (because it focused on class issues so as to ignore problems of working class racism and a right-wing backlash) and the “new left” that focuses on culture, because they attempted to bring in outsiders or outside theories that were not sufficiently “Black”, ie. while ideas of Black consciousness and African American leaders such as Malcolm X could be venerated by the Liverpool Black Caucus, Black “traitors” such as Sam Bond from London (hand picked by white Militants), were viciously attacked, and white theorists, such as Foucault, were dismissed due to their failure to root their work in the Black experience and provide concrete “truths” to frame demands on the state.54
Consequently, Liverpool-born Blacks have sought to enter the British national narrative, while also attempting to avoid naïve assimilationism and framing political models that emulate African American movements. A distinct “cultural group” has not been elaborated by Liverpool-born Blacks; however, while Goulbourne assumes that West Indians do not have a distinct culture (unlike “Asians”, West Indian culture is believed to “derive largely from Britain”55) and counsels them away from “succumbing to the communal option with its promise of immediate payoffs,”56 conflict between Liverpool-born Blacks and West Indian “outsiders” has often taken the form of West Indian attacks on the “lack of culture” of Liverpool-born Blacks, and their own assertion of cultural independence.57 Goulborne's claim demonstrates not only his fear of division and cultural competition between Blacks and Asians, but his (and some West Indians and Liverpool-born Blacks) failure to appreciate the elaboration of a counter-culture by Blacks in the Caribbean and in Liverpool that did not just involve performing in sport and music, but distinct(ive) histories. While Ellison could find discrimination to have “political value of great potency [and] its cultural value…almost nil,”58 and Phillips could detect no culture in the city “about which Liverpool-born Blacks might feel particularly proud”,59 one must attack descriptions of culture that assume it to be only contained in classical (and possibly jazz) music and architecture, as well as the assumptions of a multicultural society that culture only embodies exotic pop icons and culinary delights for “the greatest good of the greatest number” who can then congratulate themselves on their receptivity to “chic” cultures. In doing so, one contest the colourism “imported” into Liverpool from the Caribbean and the desires of certain cultural groups to emphasize their darkness, not as a threat to “British society”, but a “real”, cultural offering. Yet while noting opposition from “pure” Blacks, who can be “pretty awful”,60 and the pain this can cause, Liverpool-born Blacks feel that one “can only dismiss it”61 due to the wider struggle against white supremacy.62
Multiracial individuals in Canada can also face the objective social reality of “not being white,”63 and Lawrence Hill has noted the hurt caused when “our adoptive choice [of identity] is rejected by the very people whom we choose to identify.”64 Nonetheless, as in Liverpool, Black identity in Nova Scotia can be rooted to place and inclusive of “tantalizingly tan”65 skin tones and mixed ancestries, as in the African Nova Scotian community “there is always room for one more.”66 Moreover, whereas in Liverpool there has been a large influx of Caribbean immigrants, and people born in the Caribbean constitute an equal percentage of the Liverpudlian population with people born in Africa (both totalling 0.2% of the Liverpool population in the 1991 census), in 1991 only 710 people from Nova Scotia noted that they were born in the Caribbean, and the vast majority of immigrants (3,550 in 1991) are “direct from the homeland”, helping an Afrocentric education program to be established in transition year67 and probation68 programs in order to establish a “sense of self”. Although an African Canadian identity can be tied to Americocentric as much as Afrocentric issues,69 Clarke has elaborated the concept of Africadia, allowing indigenous Blacks to frame their demands to their long-standing ties to the land, and their cultural offerings to the Canadian mosaic. Consequently, Clarke and other scholars concerned with racial injustice can emphasize not only racial discrimination and the failure of founding members of the Canadian nation to receive “charter privileges” ,70 but Africadian creative achievements. Here we should not merely denounce treason, but observe the role of states and elites as agent provocateurs – privileging ties to the land, and encouraging foreign entertainment – and consider the ways in which the actions of the “High” and “Middle” offer opportunities for powerful critiques of liberal hypocrisy and an opportunity to establish an alternative agenda.
An insistence on one's rights as an African Canadian allows individuals such as Rocky Jones to explain that whites “concentrate on educating their own communities about racism rather than imposing their solutions on the black community”.71 Jones' statement can be viewed alongside African American efforts to show that there is “no negro problem, the problem is whether the American people have loyalty enough, honour enough, patriotism enough, to live up to their own constitution.”72 By identifying an imagined nation and its representatives, one can avoid vague commitments to International Writers Parliament73 that may not be able to guarantee the security of minority groups, when its “playful” appeal to the supposed authority of the intelligentsia and assistance to iconic individuals can fail to identify the targets of resistance, allowing high levels of intolerance (often developed in cosmopolitan areas with high levels of tolerance, such as Bosnia74) to produce racial violence (which can then be considered a problem not of white society, but alien hordes75).
However, in adopting the mantle of British subjects and singing “God Save the Queen”, “respectable” Blacks in Victorian Halifax could resort to an (over) reliance on the state, as in achieving the removal of intrusive teachers, Black leaders needed to utilize patriarchy to attack “snobby girl teachers”, as well as their “good old Anglo-Saxon”,76 to bridge the gulf in society between “respectable” black and white. In touching upon the ways in which issues of gender, race and class can divide groups committed to “uplift” through appeals to established values and constructed national arenas, one can also identify the potential failings of African Nova Scotian groups tied to place in including immigrant groups, and developing links with Black groups elsewhere in Canada. Rather than developing alternatives to the status quo, one can observe acceptance of the parameters of debate, rhetoric of a “zero-sum game” and binary oppositions, so that “oppressed groups” must compete with each other for state rewards.77
Yet cultural differences or commitment to the United States, Great Britain, Canada or Africadia do not preclude political alliances against racial discrimination. Specific events, such as the displacement of residents from Africville and the Toxteth riots, offered opportunities to develop links between various progressive movements, as the police and the City Council could be the “victims” of “strategic essentialism”,78 allowing inter-racial and inter-class alliances to protest a failure of elites to live up to their established ideas of justice and imagined notions of “fair play” in several different forums. Thus, progressive groups can challenge being labeled as “imposing” their values on Others, and declare to (dominant) whites that there is a difference between giving up power and being silenced.79 In this manner, the divisions within an authoritarian/libertarian “hegemonic project”, with “natural rulers” and leaders who “follow the people”, may be exposed, allowing new “enemies within” to be constructed.
Nonetheless, even when berating a common enemy, leaders of Black movements can reveal a fear of uncontrollable performers in the room, especially when they may be interviewed and selected as “the face” or voice of a movement by the media. The “particular embarrassment liberals suffer when the sphere allotted to the tolerated exceeds the boundaries 'we all agree upon'”80 is shared by minority leaders who can be preoccupied with maintaining their own privileged position and preventing “middling” sentiment siding with the establishment. Such intellectual discomfort in Liverpool and Halifax can prevent Afrocentric Black leaders identifying with local affairs and utilizing materially based issues, as well as the exodus of local intellectuals, not simply because of limited financial support, but nepotism and insularity within the African Nova Scotian “intellectual vanguard”.
One must critique assumptions that Blacks “have depended upon Black leaders to point the way to freedom and prosperity”,81 and its dangerous implications that ignore the agency of local Blacks and their negotiation of hegemonic values, and find them “deluded” without following the line established by in vogue Black cultural thinkers. While local struggles that do not observe their connections with regional, national and international debates must also be accused of sabotage, even in the “failure” of isolated local groups to maintain their homes or shape regeneration plans of the state, “left melancholia” is not the only outcome. Instead one can note the centrality of Africville in “the new black consciousness in Nova Scotia,”82 where I. Carvery, the President of the Africville Genealogy Society, adds, “I think you can't maintain the traditions and show respect for the elders of the community without being political.”83 In Halifax, not only can displaced Africville residents recall the intimidation of the City, but record its far from rational and efficient action (the former site of Africville residents is now an underused Park, except for the annual Africville Genealogy meeting). Liverpool-born Blacks have found it more difficult to associate themselves with (post) modernity and “common sense” rhetoric, as areas in Granby with a large Black presence, are now vulnerable to the expansion of Liverpool University and “gentrification” that brings investment into the region. Blacks who insist that they do not receive rewards from economic development are dismissed as “selfish” “trouble-making” “whiners” looking for excuses, and not aiding the enhancement of “Britain PLC”.
Multiracial organic intellectuals, able to frame alliances with other progressive groups and listen to specific local Black concerns, need to be able to not only harness social memory, but also show the multiple ways in which they face oppression in the “democratically racist” present and conceptualize the future. In designing the “New Face of the nation”, multiracial individuals can seek out Hispanic groups and other “persons of colour”. Yet multiracial organic intellectuals need to be wary of merely expanding whiteness, and creating a “buffer zone” privileged in cultural representations of the infantile/passive nation(al citizen).84 Important links between biracial and bisexual groups may need to be explored further in order to consider ways in which both groups can attack normativity in mainstream and minority groups, so that rather than creating new groups that are “superior” for hybrids with cultural capital who seek belonging,85 they may explode the myth of normativity for what “we” are as a nation. Once/while the nation is deconstructed, links between “multiply-positioned” individuals “fixed” in various spaces, may no longer merely attract the attention of conference delegates and multinational companies, but “hybrid”, “Low” individuals searching (often on-line) for a home with fellow liminal figures.
Thus, not only iconic individuals, private citizens or the marketing departments of multinational firms must reconceptualise identities to be local, global and “bullish”86 and create new terms; members and leaders of Black political organizations must chart new (imagined) spaces. With such political actions, agenda that is not formed by High (or American) demands, can be read and debated in a room outside the reaches of Big Brother and corporate culture. While appreciating the continued impact of the “High,” and realizing that new power relations that stress ambiguity and flux will not easily replace traditional definitions that emphasize binary oppositions, political organizations can also probe the opportunities hegemonic groups create for not only negotiation, but alliances against images that denigrate or fail to incorporate minorities into the public image.87 Through resistance to “democratic racism”, Black essentialism, and “left melancholia”, possibilities emerge for the creation of new choices in one's private room, group office, national tower/airstrip, as well as a conceptualization of supranational space that is not dependent on endless war or commercialism, but versus proponents of supremacist ideas, intolerance and oppression. In this outlook, empathy and humility can be valued in shaping not only “new”, “fresh” communities of colour in liberal democratic nations and global cultures, myopic preoccupation with personal/local discrimination, or an absorption with an African American present and mythic African past, but promoting an understanding of, and alliance with, contemporary Africa and other “developing” areas that may challenge, as well as appropriate, “traditional”, non-“Low”, Euro-centric notions.
I am a graduate student at the University of Toronto. My research interests include observing how inclusive rooted or indigenous Black communities are of newer immigrants from Africa and the Caribbean, and looking at the rhetorical use of 'Americanisation' in Canada and the US.
1 C. West “The Dilemma of the Black Intellectual” in b. hooks and C. West, Breaking Bread: Insurgent Black intellectual life, (Toronto: Insomniac Press, 1991) p. 135.
2 J. Nassy Brown, “Before Blackness, Beyond Diaspora: Cosmopolitanism in Liverpool's Age of Sail” http://www2.ucsc.edu/cgirs/publications/cpapers/nassybrown.pdf, p. 8.
3 See M. E. Fletcher, Report on an Investigation into the Colour Problem in Liverpool and Other Ports, (Liverpool: Association for the Welfare of Half Caste Children, 1930).
4 M. Christian, A Case Study of mixed racial origin identity p. 180.
5 J. Nassy Brown, “Before Blackness, Beyond Diaspora: Cosmopolitanism in Liverpool's Age of Sail”, p. 4.
6 Ada Hall, cited in M. Christian, A Case Study of mixed racial origin identity, appendix p107.
7 See the Liverpool policeman who could comment, “the negroes would not have been touched but for their relations with white women,” after the 1919 race riot, which left Charles Wooton, a Black man, dead. Cited in Fryer, Staying power: the history of black people in Britain (London : Pluto Press, 1984) p. 302.
8 G. E. Clarke, “Treason of the Black Intellectuals?” http://www.arts.mcgill.ca/programs/misc/clarke.htm
9 M. Christian, A Case Study of mixed racial origin identity, p. 92.
10 C. West, “The Dilemma of the Black Intellectual”, p. 135.
11 M. Christian, A Case Study of mixed racial origin identity, p. 34.
12 CLR James, cited in P. Gilroy, The Black Atlantic: modernity and double consciousness, p. 79.
13 G. Therbom, “Two-Thirds, One-Third Society” in S. Hall and M. Jacques (ed.), New Times: The Changing Face of Politics in the 1990s (London: Lawrence and Wishart, 1989).
14 “[Louis Napoleon] poses, therefore, as the opponent of the political and literary power of the middle class. But by protecting its material power he revives its political power”, K. Marx, Eighteenth Brumaire, http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1852/18th-brumaire/ch07.htm. Also see Plato, “Four Forms of Government” in The Republic (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000), Book VIII.
15 The terms “biracial”, “interracial”, and particularly “multiracial”, are preferred in the North American literature, “mixed race” in the British literature, to describe people who identify with more than one “race”, especially those with parents from different “races”. The notion of mixed races, assuming the notions of separate or “pure” races, is problematic, but the term is not considered derogatory in the current British context, unlike the label “half-caste”. Therefore, it shall be employed when studying the British case, although the term “multiracial” will be preferred.
16 For more on “late capitalism” and transnational identity see A. Gupta and J Ferguson, “Beyond 'Culture': Space, Identity and the Politics of Difference”, Cultural Anthropology, 7 (1) 1992, and A. Gupta “The Song of the Nonaligned World: Transnational identity and the Reinscription of Space in late capitalism” ibid.
17 W. Brown, “Resisting Left Melancholia,” in P. Gilroy, L. Grossberg, and A. McRobbie (eds.), Without Guarantees: Essays in Honor of Stuart Hall (London: Verso, 2000).
18 See http://www.multiracial.com/about.html
19 See D. D'Souza, who calls on blacks to become the “first truly modern people, unhyphenated Americans” in The End of Racism (New York: Free Press, 1995), p. 556.
20 J. M. Spencer, New Colored People: the mixed-race movement in America (New York: New York University Press, 1997).
21 G. Daniel, More than Black? Multiracial Identity and the New Racial Order (Temple Univeristy Press, 2001) p. 132.
22 Zara in Y. Alibhai-Brown, Mixed Feelings (London: Women's Press, 2001), p. 112.
23 See White Girl: A dialogue on race at http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/whitegirl/comments2.html, p. 4
24 “Our kind of love could overcome the racial barrier” Lawrence Hill's parents, cited in L. Hill, Black Berry, Sweet Juice: on being black and white in Canada (Toronto : HarperFlamingoCanada, 2001), p. 34; also see Y. Alibhai-Brown, A. Montague, The Colour of Love: Mixed race relationships (London: Trafalgar Square, 1993), and British organizations for interracial couples called “People in Harmony”.
25 Sara in L. Hill, Black Berry, Sweet Juice, p. 146.
26 The response to Halle Berry's Oscar victory, in which she was not deemed to be a “true” minority who had suffered discrimination by virtue of her lighter-skin and biracial status (see L. R. Shelton IV, “Halle, Rosa, Oscar, And Racism”, http://toogoodreports.com/column/general/shelton/20020327.htm), as well as Terkildsen's research, which found that while racist whites could self-monitor their behaviour vis-à-vis darker-skinned blacks, they did not do so vis-à-vis lighter-skinned blacks (N. Terkildsen, “When White Voters Exclude Black Candidates”, American Journal of Political Science, 37: 1032-1053), reveal the ways in which right-wing groups can attempt to mock those who seek affirmative action and “token awards”, as well as the ways in which mixed race individuals may not benefit from affirmative action to the same level as darker-skinned Blacks.
27 G. Daniel, More than Black? p. 146. See also W. Connerly, Creating Equal : My Fight Against Race Preferences (Encounter Books, 2000).
28 Time, 141, no. 2 Special Issue (Fall, 1993).
29 G. E. Clarke, “Treason of the Black Intellectuals”
30 In the fantasy of black supremacy “there will be a pecking order of blackness…in which case the enemy ceases to be whiteness but other less black breed”, H. Cruse, The Crisis of the Negro Intellectual (New York: Quill, 1984), p. 439-440, cited in G. E Clarke, “Treason of the Black Intellectuals”.
31 See resolution of National Association of Black Social Workers, 1972, passing a resolution against the adoption of black children by white parents, and insisting that mixed children be taught to acknowledge their blackness and “raised to survive as blacks”.
32 See Jim Brown's comments on Tiger Woods's failure to support “his” community, http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/football/news/2002/04/09/brown-athletes.
33 G. Daniel, More than Black?, p. 140.
34 M. Christian Multiracial Identity, p. 5.
35 G. Daniel, More than Black? p. 192. Also see response/awareness of multiracial groups to primary definers concerned with “critical mass,” with comments such as “SMHAC is founded in large part upon the principles of self-definition and diversity…this could prove to be more difficult as we try to give more shape to the organization,” http://www.amherst.edu/~smhac/faq.html
36 “SMHAC [Students of Mixed Heritage at Amherst College] is here because we feel we have something different to contribute to the American cultural narrative” http://www.amherst.edu/~smhac/faq.html
37 J. Donald, “The citizen and the man about town” in S. Hall and P. du Gay (eds.), Questions of Cultural Identity (London: Sage, 1996), p. 184. Also see R. Brubaker and F. Cooper (2000) “Beyond 'identity'” in Theory and Society 29: 1-47.
38 P. J. Waller, “The Riots in Toxteth, Liverpool: A Survey” in New Community, IX, 3 1981/2, p. 352. Also see the left wing attack on multiculturalism as “taking black culture off the streets – where it had been politicised and…putting it in the council chamber, in the classroom and on the television, where it could be institutionalized, managed and reified…hindering rather than helping the fight against race and class oppressions”, see A. Kundnani, “The death of multiculturalism”, Commentary, Race and Class. http://www.irr.org.uk/cantle/index.htm
39 “for many people, an excuse is better than an achievement. That is because an achievement, no matter how great, leaves you having to prove yourself again in the future. But an excuse can last for life. Those black achievements which did not involve fighting the sins of white people get little attention during Black History Month. Indeed, many of those achievements undermine the blanket excuse that white sins are what prevent blacks from accomplishing more. T. Sowell, “Black History Month” http://www.townhall.com/columnists/thomassowell/ts20020226.shtml
40 E. Powell, 1968 speech
41 P. Gordon and F. Klug, New Right, New Racism, (London: Searchlight, 1986), p. 22.
42 C. West, Prophetic Thought in Postmodern Times. Volume One: Beyond Eurocentrism and Multiculturalism (Monroe, Maine: Common Courage Press, 1993), p. 147.
43 E. Liu “The politics of miscegenation”, http://slate.msn.como/default.aspx?id=2398
44 See R. Kennedy, Nigger: The History of a Troublesome Word (Pantheon, 2002).
45 P. Gilroy, The Black Atlantic: modernity and double consciousness (London: Verso, 1993), p. 191.
46 Runnymede Trust, chair B. Parekh, The Future of Multi-Ethnic Britain (London: Prospect Press, 2000).
47 P. Gilroy, The Black Atlantic, p.34. Also see S. Hall's fears re: “vanguardist implications” in “Cultural Studies and Its Theoretical Languages”, in P. Treichler, C. Nelson and L. Grossberg (eds.) Cultural Studies (New York : Routledge, 1992) p. 288.
48 Runnymede Trust, chair B. Parekh, The Future of Multi-Ethnic Britain.
49 Statistical Analysis of the 1991 Census (Liverpool, Poverty N.D), p. 19.
50 Compared to U.S. arguments found in L. Steinhorn, and B.. Diggs-Brown. By the Color of Our Skin: The Illusion of Integration and the Reality of Race (New York: Dutton, 1999).
51 J. Nassy Brown, “Before Blackness, Beyond Diaspora: Cosmopolitanism in Liverpool's Age of Sail”, p. 7.
52 A. Hall, cited in M. Christian, A Case Study of mixed racial origin identity, appendix p113.
53 Gale, “This Act of Folly”, Daily Express, 13.6.1978.
54 W. Nelson Jr., Black Atlantic Politics: Dilemmas of Political Empowerment in Boston and Liverpool (State University of New York Press, 2000), p. 185ff.
55 H. Goulborne, Ethnicity and nationalism in post-imperial Britain (Cambridge University Press 1991), p. 49.
56 Ibid. p. 242.
57 For general cultural competition keeping “the Black community divided and politically demoralized” and conflict over Liverpool-born Blacks right to use the Caribbean centre, see W. Nelson Jr., Black Atlantic Politics, p. 263.
58 R. Ellison, Shadow and Act (Vintage Books, New York, 1972), p. 263-4.
59 C. Phillips, The Atlantic Sound (New York : Alfred Knopf, 2000) p. 109.
60 'Doreen Kay', A Case Study of mixed racial origin identity appendix, p. 130.
61 'Jean Williams', Ibid. appendix, p. 180.
62 For an interesting comparison see W. Chrictow, Buller Men and Batty Bwoys (Unpublished PhD, University of Toronto, 1996), esp. p. 150, where Chrictow insists on a more inclusive Black group, rather than aiming his work at eradicating racism within homosexual groups or mainstream society.
63 Christian, Multiracial Identity: an international perspective (Hampshire, UK: Macmillan Press 2000), p. 56, and also see M. Gonick, “Blonde, English, White: Theorizing Race, language and Nation,” Atlantis 24:2 (2000), in which Lely, one of her visible minority interviewees, differentiates between Canadians (blond, white and English) and Canadian citizens.
64 L. Hill, Black Berry, Sweet Juice, p. 114.
65 G. E. Clarke, “Treason of the Black Intellectuals”.
66 Raymond Sheppard, broadcast interview with D. McNeil, CKDU, broadcast 5/21/02.
67 See I. Saney, Associate Director of Transition Year program, Dalhousie University, interview with D. McNeil, 5/14/02. Also see work of African Canadian Education Project based in Halifax.
68 D. Sealy, upcoming work.
69 See G. E. Clarke, “Must All Blackness Be American?: Locating Canada in Borden's 'Tightrope Time,' or Nationalizing Gilroy's The Black Atlantic” http://www.athabascau.ca/cll/writers/geclarke_essay.html, and “Contesting a model blackness: A meditation on African-Canadian African Americanism, or The structures of African Canadianité”, in Essays in Canadian Writing 63: 1, 1998.
70 Clairmont and Wien, “Blacks and Whites: The Nova Scotia Race Relations Experience” in Banked Fires: The Ethnics of Nova Scotia, ed. D. F. Campbell (Port Credit, Ont., Scribblers' Press, 1978), p, 41.
71 cited in J. J. Nelson, Operation of whiteness and Forgetting in Africville: a geography of racism (unpublished University of Toronto thesis, 2001), p. 113.
72 F. Douglass “Speech At Colored American Day," 25 August 1893.
73 Derrida, On Cosmopolitanism and Forgiveness (Thinking in Action) (Routledge, 2001).
74 See R. Hodson, K. Sekulic and G. Massey, “National Tolerance in the Former Yugoslavia,” American Journal of Sociology 99, 6 (1994) 1534-58, in which the authors show highest levels of tolerance and conflict in the former Yugoslavia occurring in Bosnia.
75 See Thatcher's concerns with “swamping” (1978 speech), Cowling's belief that national identity “may in places already have been eroded”, due to “the immigration of alien communities” (M. Cowling, Conservative Essays), Peregrine Worsthorne's belief that the riots "should positively encourage the Government into a draconian reaction, just as it should have encouraged the Government to call a halt to immigration 20 years ago” (19 July 1981, Sunday Telegraph).
76 J. Fingard, “Race and Respectability in Victorian Halifax”, Journal of Imperial and Commonwealth history, 1992, p. 191.
77 See F. Anthias and N. Yuval-Davis, Racialised boundaries: race, nation, gender, colour, and class and the anti-racist struggle (London: Routledge, 1992), esp. Ch. 6, “Resisting Racism”.
78 G. Spivak, “Criticism, pessimism and the institution” in The Postcolonial Critic: Interviews, strategies, dialogues, ed. S. Harasym (New York, Routledge, 1990).
79 Hall, “Cultural Studies and Its Theoretical Languages”, p. 283.
80 L. Berlant, The Queen of America goes to Washington City: essays on sex and citizenship, (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 1997), p. 157.
81 Nelson Jr, Black Atlantic Politics, p. 272
82 Clairmont, “Africville: An Historical Overview” in The Spirit of Africville, ed. Africville Genealogy Society (Halifax, N.S.: Formac Pub. Co. 1992), p. 74.
83 The Spirit of Africville, ch. 4, p. 82.
84 See L. Berlant, “The Theory of Infantile citizenship” in Queen of America.
85 “Bisexuals often defend our sexual practices as superior to those of heterosexuals, lesbians and gay men”, R. Schister “Beyond Defense: considering next steps for bisexual liberation, in Bi any other name: bisexual people speak out (Boston: Alyson Pub., 1991), ed. L. Hutchins and L. Kaahumanu, p. 268.
86 Merrill Lynch slogan.
87 revealing the ways in which Ideology creates the terms for its own resistance by publicly justifying its power in ways that can be contested. See J. C. Scott, The Moral Economy of the Peasant: Rebellion and Subsistence in Southeast Asia (Yale University Press, 1977).
by Daniel McNeil
Copyright © 2001 Daniel McNeil and The Multiracial Activist. All rights reserved.