Race is not a scientific concept, yet racism is real in American society. Race is a powerful social idea that gives people differential access to opportunities and resources. Violence has been racialized in the United States, as seen in crime statistics and as reinforced by the news media. This session explores the cultural and sociological consequences of race-based violence.
John Hollway, Ph.D.
Erin Kerrison, Ph.D
Oliver Rollins, Ph.D.
Christen Smith, Ph.D.
Deborah A. Thomas,
and moderator Ph.D. Sara Lomax-Reese
The Penn Museum at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia has launched the Digital Penn Museum, a platform for their collections, recorded lectures, and hundreds of films from expeditions across the world. As an institution focused on archaeology and anthropology, the portal offers improved accessibility to its resources on global history and culture.
WASHINGTON – The following statement was released by a newly formed group called Indigenous Women Rise following President Trump referring to Senator Elizabeth Warren as Pocahontas during a meeting at the White House last Thursday:
President Trump recently resurrected his racist ‘nickname’ for Senator Elizabeth Warren, referring to her as “Pocahontas”. Reducing Native and Indigenous women and girls to one word, one name – Pocahontas – is a blatant act of racism. Reducing any group of people to a single descriptor deploys a racist trope that creates a subhuman mindset toward them, making it easy to dismiss their rights and voice.
As Indigenous women, we understand the harms of a colonial legacy that perpetuates and normalizes racism directed at Native and Indigenous women and girls. Indigenous communities have been historically stricken with harmful stereotypes, often reducing us to subhuman caricatures. However, as Indigenous Women we Rise to say, “Enough is enough!”
These stereotypes make it easy for the government and people to overlook when our women and girls start to go missing. They make it easy to overlook when our youth suicide rates are some of the highest in the nation. An international study by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) shows that Indigenous girls, adolescents and young women face a higher prevalence of violence, labor exploitation, and harassment, and are more vulnerable to sexual violence than any other group of women. According to the U.S. Department of Justice, more than 4 in 5 American Indian and Alaska Native women have experienced violence in their lifetime while more than 1 in 3 American Indian and Alaska Native women have experienced violence in the past year. In Canada, Indigenous women are almost three times more likely to be killed by a stranger than non-Indigenous women. Suicide is the second leading cause of death and 2.5 times the national rate for American Indian/Alaskan Native youth in the 15-24 age group.
In January of 2017, the Indigenous Women Rise (IWR) collective was formed. We are made up of strong Indigenous women leaders from across the United States who stand together in solidarity for the protection of our rights, our safety, our health, our families and our communities. We are women who have real names, history and an ancestry in this land that deserves respect. The IWR collective marched together in the Women’s March on D.C. We marched to raise awareness of violence against the earth, access to health care, and violence against women. We joined together to show the world that we are still here, still resilient, and still strong.
President Trump’s bullying and name-calling of Senator Elizabeth Warren is deplorable and we demand an apology to Native and Indigenous Peoples.
[February 10, 2017 by toritto] [ Our thanks to Frank for this]
“Absconded from the household of the President of the United States, ONEY JUDGE, a light mulatto girl, much freckled, with very black eyes and bushy hair. She is of middle stature, slender, and delicately formed, about 20 years of age.
She has many changes of good clothes, of all sorts, but they are not sufficiently recollected to be described—As there was no suspicion of her going off, nor no provocation to do so, it is not easy to conjecture whither she has gone, or fully, what her design is; but as she may attempt to escape by water, all masters of vessels are cautioned against admitting her into them, although it is probable she will attempt to pass for a free woman, and has, it is said, wherewithal to pay her passage.
Ten dollars will be paid to any person who will bring her home, if taken in the city, or on board any vessel in the harbour;—and a reasonable additional sum if apprehended at, and brought from a greater distance, and in proportion to the distance. —FREDERICK KITT, Steward. May 23″
Oney “Ona” Judge was a mixed raced slave on George Washington’s plantation at Mount Vernon, Virginia. Born in 1773 at Mount Vernon, her mother. Betty, was an enslaved seamstress; her father, Andrew Judge, was an English tailor working as an indentured servant at Mount Vernon.
Betty had been among the 285 African slaves held by Martha Washington’s first husband, Daniel Parke Custis (1711–1757). Custis died without a will, so his widow received a “dower share” – the lifetime use of one third of his Estate, which included at least 85 enslaved Africans. Martha had control over these “dower” slaves, but did not have the legal power to sell or free them. Upon Martha’s marriage to George Washington in 1759, the dower slaves came with her to Mount Vernon, including Betty, Oney’s mother to be.
Under Virginia colonial law the legal status of a child was the same as that of the enslaved mother, no matter who the father was. Because Betty was a dower slave, Oney also was a dower slave, owned by the Custis Estate. Upon the completion of his indenture, Andrew Judge, her father settled in Alexandria, Virginia, some 11 miles away.
At about age 10, Oney was brought to live at the Mansion House at Mount Vernon, likely as a playmate for Martha Washington’s granddaughter Nelly Custis. She eventually became the personal attendant or body servant to Martha Washington.
George Washington took Oney, then 16 years old to New York City along with six other slaves to work in the Presidential household. All eventually moved to Philadelphia with Washington when the national capital was transferred there in 1790.
Now Pennsylvania was the first state to enact an emancipation law for all of its slaves. In 1780 Pennsylvania required the registration of all slaves of its residents. They would remain slaves but any of their children would be born free, resulting in gradual emancipation. Non-residents, such as George Washington, a slaveholder from another state could reside in Pennsylvania with his personal slaves for up to six months, but if those slaves were held in Pennsylvania beyond that deadline, the law gave them the power to free themselves.
A 1788 amendment to the state law closed loopholes – such as prohibiting a Pennsylvania slaveholder from transporting a pregnant woman out of the state (so the child would be born enslaved) and prohibiting a non-resident slaveholder from rotating his slaves in and out of the state to prevent them from establishing the six-month Pennsylvania residency required to qualify for freedom. This last point would affect the lives of Oney Judge and the other President’s house slaves.
Washington contended (privately) that his presence in Philadelphia was solely a consequence of the city’s being the temporary seat of the federal government. He held that he remained a resident of Virginia, and should not be bound by Pennsylvania law regarding slavery. Attorney General Edmund Randolph – misunderstood the Pennsylvania law and lost his personal slaves after they established a six-month residency and claimed their freedom.
Randolph immediately warned Washington to prevent the President’s House slaves from doing the same, advising him to interrupt their residency by sending them out of the state. Such a rotation was a violation of the 1788 amendment, but Washington’s actions were not challenged. He continued to rotate the President’s House slaves in and out of Pennsylvania throughout his presidency. He also was careful never to spend six continuous months in Pennsylvania himself, which could be interpreted as establishing legal residency. At least once Martha Washington took Oney to Trenton New Jersey for two days to interrupt her six month residency in Pennsylvania.
Judge fled as the Washingtons were preparing to return to Virginia for a short trip between sessions of Congress. Martha Washington had informed her that she was to be given as a wedding present to the First Lady’s granddaughter. Judge recalled in an 1845 interview:
“Whilst they were packing up to go to Virginia, I was packing to go, I didn’t know where; for I knew that if I went back to Virginia, I should never get my liberty. I had friends among the colored people of Philadelphia, had my things carried there beforehand, and left Washington’s house while they were eating dinner.”
The President of the United States wanted his slave returned. Runaway advertisements in Philadelphia newspapers document Judge’s escape to freedom from the President’s House on May 21, 1796.
Oney was secretly placed aboard the Nancy, a ship piloted by Captain John Bowles and escaped to Portsmouth, New Hampshire. She may have thought she had found safe haven, but that summer she was recognized on the streets of Portsmouth by Elizabeth Langdon, the teenage daughter of N. H. Senator John Langdon and a friend of Nelly Custis. Washington knew of Judge’s whereabouts by September 1, when he wrote to Oliver Wolcott, Jr., the Secretary of the Treasury, about having her captured and returned by ship.
At Wolcott’s request, Joseph Whipple, Portsmouth’s collector of customs, interviewed Judge and reported back to him. The plan to capture her was abandoned after Whipple warned that news of an abduction could cause a riot on the docks by supporters of abolition. Whipple refused to place Judge on a ship against her will, but relayed to Wolcott her offer to return voluntarily to the Washingtons if they would guarantee to free her following their deaths.
An indignant Washington responded himself to Whipple: “I regret that the attempt you made to restore the Girl (Oney Judge as she called herself while with us, and who, without the least provocation absconded from her Mistress) should have been attended with so little Success. To enter into such a compromise with her, as she suggested to you, is totally inadmissible, for reasons that must strike at first view: for however well disposed I might be to a gradual abolition, or even to an entire emancipation of that description of People (if the latter was in itself practicable at this moment) it would neither be politic or just to reward unfaithfulness with a premature preference [of freedom]; and thereby discontent before hand the minds of all her fellow-servants who by their steady attachments are far more deserving than herself of favor.”
Washington retired from the presidency in March 1797. His nephew, Burwell Bassett traveled to New Hampshire on business in September 1798, and tried to convince her to return. By this point she was married to a seaman named Jack Staines (who was away at sea) and was the mother of an infant. Bassett met with her, but she refused to return to Virginia with him. Bassett was Senator Langdon’s houseguest that night, and over dinner he revealed his plan to kidnap her. This time Langdon helped Oney Judge Staines, secretly sending word for her to immediately go into hiding. Bassett returned to Virginia without her.
Washington could have used the federal courts to recover Judge Staines — the 1793 Fugitive Slave Act (which he had signed into law) required a legal process to return an escaped slave over state lines. Any court case, however, would have been part of the public record, and attracted unwelcome attention.
Interviews with Oney Judge Staines were published in the May 1845 issue of The Granite Freeman and the January 1847 issue of The Liberator, both abolitionist newspapers. They contained a wealth of details about her life. She described the Washingtons, their attempts to capture her, her opinions on slavery, her pride in having learned to read, and her strong religious faith.
When asked whether she was sorry that she left the Washingtons, since she labored so much harder after her escape than before, she said: “No, I am free, and have, I trust been made a child of God by the means.”
She remained a fugitive slave in New Hampshire all of her life. When George Washington died, concerned with his reputation, he freed all of his slaves but he did not own the dower slaves belonging to his wife. When Martha Washington died the dower slaves reverted to the Custis Estate and were awarded to other descendants of her family.
Oney Judge Staines was never freed but she escaped to New Hampshire and lived free.
Frederick Douglass, author, orator, editor, and most important African American leader of the 19th century, was a dangerous illegal immigrant. Well, in 1838 he escaped a thoroughly legal system of enslavement to the tenuous condition of fugitive resident of a northern state that had outlawed slavery, but could only protect his “freedom” outside of the law.
Douglass’s life and work serve as a striking symbol of one of the first major refugee crises in our history. From the 1830s through the 1850s, the many thousands of runaway slaves, like Douglass, who escaped into the North, into Canada, or Mexico put enormous pressure on those places’ political systems. The presence and contested status of fugitive slaves polarized voters in elections; they were the primary subject of major legislation such as the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850 as well as Supreme Court decisions such as Dred Scott v. Sanford in 1857. They were at the heart of a politics of fear in the 1850s that led to disunion. Among the many legacies of Douglass’s life and writings alive today, one of the most potent is his role as an illegal migrant and very public abolitionist orator and journalist posing as a free black citizen in slaveholding America.
Yale Will Drop John Calhoun’s Name From Building
Noah Remnick, Feb. 11, 2017, The New York TimesAfter a swelling tide of protests, the president of Yale announced on Saturday that the university would change the name of a residential college commemorating John C. Calhoun, the 19th-century white supremacist statesman from South Carolina. The college will be renamed for Grace Murray Hopper, a trailblazing computer scientist and Navy rear admiral who received a master’s degree and a doctorate from Yale.The decision was a stark reversal of the university’s decision last spring to maintain the name despite broad opposition. Though the president, Peter Salovey, said that he was still “concerned about erasing history,” he said that “these are exceptional circumstances.”
“I made this decision because I think it is the right thing to do on principle,” Mr. Salovey said on a conference call with reporters. “John C. Calhoun’s principles, his legacy as an ardent supporter of slavery as a positive good, are at odds with this university.”
President Trump recently described Frederick Douglass as “an example of somebody who’s done an amazing job and is being recognized more and more, I notice.” The president’s muddled tense – it came out sounding as if the 19th-century abolitionist were alive with a galloping Twitter following – provoked some mirth on social media. But the spotlight on one of America’s great moral heroes is a welcome one.
Douglass was born on a plantation in Eastern Maryland in 1817 or 1818 – he did not know his birthday, much less have a long-form birth certificate – to a black mother (from whom he was separated as a boy) and a white father (whom he never knew and who was likely the “master” of the house). He was parceled out to serve different members of the family. His childhood was marked by hunger and cold, and his teen years passed in one long stretch of hard labor, coma-like fatigue, routine floggings, hunger, and other commonplace tortures from the slavery handbook.
At 20, he ran away to New York and started his new life as an anti-slavery orator and activist. Acutely conscious of being a literary witness to the inhumane institution he had escaped, he made sure to document his life in not one but three autobiographies. His memoirs bring alive the immoral mechanics of slavery and its weapons of control. Chief among them: food.
More than half a century after Rosa Parks refused to move to the back of the bus in Montgomery, Alabama, prompting an 11-month boycott that led to integration of that city’s bus system, African Americans and Latinos are still struggling with an unequal transit system.
But in January 2010, U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood announced that the Obama administration would shift the policy one hundred and eighty degrees. “There’s no question that this administration is going to take a careful look at civil rights compliance on the part of transit agencies,” Federal Transit Administrator Peter Rogoff says. “I think it’s fair to say there wasn’t a lot of attention paid to it in recent years.”
The #stopdisenrollment hashtag has since last year become prominent as an expression against disenrollment, with the New York Times recently reporting that as many as “9,000 people in 79 tribes across 20 states” having been jettisoned by their kin. It remains the goal of the movement to have as many indigenous peoples express #stopdisenrollment, as there are disenrolled indigenous peoples.
excerpt: … Assaults on free speech; the imprisoning of critics and dissidents; attempts, on the Russian model, likely to begin soon, to intimidate critics of the regime with fake charges and conjured-up allegations; the intimidation and intolerance of even mild dissidence (that “Apologize!” tweet directed at members of the “Hamilton” cast who dared to politely petition Mike Pence); not to mention mass deportations or attempts at discrimination by religion—all things that the Trump and his cohorts have openly contemplated or even promised—are not part of the normal oscillations of power and policy. They are unprecedented and, history tells us, likely to be almost impossible to reverse.
So we need to stiffen our spines and broaden our embrace, grasp tightly but reach out far. The conservatives who see Trump for what he is and are shocked by it—and there are many, though not as many as there should be—should be welcomed. We can postpone arguing about the true meaning of the Second Amendment while we band together to fight for the Constitution that precedes it.
FiveThirtyEight compiled a handy list of the world’s 80 richest people, including each person’s wealth, the country where they live, whether or not their money is self-made, and the sector in which they deal or work. What if there were another column, one for the arts?
Donald Trump’s rhetoric, and that of the people who support him, makes each of you uncomfortable. I share your discomfort, anger, sadness, and, at times, terror over what might come as Trump rolls out his nightmare vision of technologically armed white supremacist government.
But I am writing with a frank reminder and an urgent plea.
First, the reminder: radical queers, trans people, black people, Muslims, incarcerated people, Native Americans, immigrants and the undocumented, people with disabilities, and those who live at the intersections of these identities—all have lived with this discomfort and terror for decades or centuries. So, to watch this may feel like a nightmare unfolding, but its contours are not new.
International adoption is in the news almost daily, but its numbers are in decline and the tone of the conversation around it has darkened. Celebrity adoptions and heartwarming stories of orphans finding “forever families” in the U.S. have given way to more skeptical coverage that emphasizes the underside of international adoption: the profit motive that leads to illicit practices and the lack of regulation and oversight in a vast system that shuffles children around the world.
Since the middle of the last decade, evangelical churches and organizations have encouraged their members to adopt children from abroad, often providing funds to help with the high costs. They have promoted a culture of adoption by publicizing a “global orphan crisis,” a disputed concept in itself. Children—many not actually orphans—are adopted hastily by well-intentioned but ill-prepared parents. Horror stories of fraud and abuse abound.
Much of this is not new. International adoption did not begin in the 1990s, or even in the 1980s. Americans began adopting children from abroad at the end of World War II, mainly from places with significant U.S. troop presences, like Germany and Japan. Systematic international adoption began in Korea after the Korean War (1950-1953) as a way to remove mixed-race “GI babies,” the children born of Korean women and foreign military personnel. It quickly grew to include non-mixed-race Korean children, and then spread to other developing countries: most notably Vietnam in the 1960s, Colombia in the 1970s, Guatemala and India in the 1980s, and China, Romania, and Russia in the 1990s….
The current reporting on evangelical adoption overlooks the importance of RACE in international adoption. The vast majority of these adoptions involve white parents and non-white children. In the 1970s, as Americans faced a white baby “famine” at home, a hierarchy of desirability became firmly established in which non-white children from abroad were preferable to African-American children. These children were not white, but they weren’t black either. That they could be rescued from poverty and backwardness heightened their sentimental appeal. Today, Americans cross the color line more readily to adopt black children from African countries. Their blackness is mitigated by their perceived exoticism and victimhood. KEEP READING