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jerryking : self-identification   4

Opinion | What Does It Mean to ‘Look Like Me’?
Sept. 21, 2019 | The New York Times | By Kwame Anthony Appiah. Mr. Appiah is a philosopher.

Minorities can find it gratifying to see people who resemble them on-screen. But resemblance is a tricky thing........It’s a formula that we turn to again and again to affirm the value of inclusion, especially in the realm of popular culture: the importance of people who “look like me.”......The “look like me” formula appeals because it feels so simple and literal. We can think of a black or Asian toddler who gets to play with dolls that share her racial characteristics, in an era when Barbie, blessedly, is no longer exclusively white. The emotions it speaks to are real, and urgent. And yet the celebratory formula is trailed by jangling paradoxes, like tin cans tied to a newlywed’s car.......For one thing, nobody means it literally. Asians don’t imagine that all Asians look alike; blacks don’t think all blacks look alike.....What the visual metaphor usually signifies, then, is a kinship of social identity. ....the complexities don’t end there. When it comes to representation, two cultural conversations are happening at the same time. One is about “speaking our truths” — about exploring in-group cultural commonalities......e.g. the cultural conversation put on by comedians whose jokes you “get” — the in-group references that resonate with you, that trigger a knowing “nailed it!” smile......That’s one way of “looking like me.”.......What films like Crazy Rich Asians and Black Panther deliver is a way of “looking like me” that’s as much about aspiration as identification. We say that their characters look like us; maybe what we mean is that we wish to look like them.....What these fantasies ask is, Who gets to tell you what you look like? It’s not a representation of identity so much as it is a renegotiation of it.......How identity relates to identification is, of course, a complicated matter.........The truth is that our best stories and songs often gain potency by complicating our received notions of identity; they’re less a mirror than a canvas — and everyone has a brush. It takes nothing away from the thrill of feeling represented, then, to point out what the most ambitious forms of art and entertainment are always telling us: Don’t be so sure what you look like.
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How did children develop self-worth and an identity before movies and tv? People have to stop looking to mass and social media for self-esteem.
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The trouble is that racial and ethnic iconography, including color, eye shape, nose length etc . govern our responses to people the second we see them.
cultural_appropriation  cultural_conversations  culture  emotional_connections  identity_politics  inclusiveness  Kwame_Appiah  paradoxes  popular_culture  representation  self-identification  self-worth  visible_minorities  visual_cues 
september 2019 by jerryking
Kwame Anthony Appiah on race, nationalism and identity politics
Spetember 1, 2018 | | Financial Times | by Mark Vandevelde.

Kwame Anthony Appiah’s ‘The Lies That Bind: Rethinking Identity’ is published by Profile, £14.99.
books  identity_politics  Kwame_Appiah  nationalism  self-identification  race 
september 2018 by jerryking
Opinion | How James Brown Made Black Pride a Hit
July 20, 2018 | The New York Times | By Randall Kennedy, law professor at Harvard.

African-Americans have internalized society’s derogation/denigration of blackness....It was precisely because of widespread colorism that James Brown’s anthem “Say It Loud, I’m Black and I’m Proud” posed a challenge, felt so exhilarating, and resonated so powerfully....the song was written a half century go.....but, alas, the need to defend blackness against derision continues......Various musicians in the 1960s tapped into yearnings for black assertiveness, autonomy and solidarity. Curtis Mayfield and the Impressions sang “We’re a Winner.” Sly and the Family Stone offered “Stand.” Sam Cooke (and Aretha Franklin and Otis Redding) performed “A Change is Gonna Come.” But no entertainer equaled Brown’s vocalization of African-Americans’ newly triumphal sense of self-acceptance.

That Brown created the song most popularly associated with the Black is Beautiful movement is ironic.....At the very time that in “Say It Loud,” Brown seemed to be affirming Negritude, he also sported a “conk” — a distinctive hairdo that involved chemically removing kinkiness on the way to creating a bouffant of straightened hair. Many African-American political activists, especially those with a black nationalist orientation, decried the conk as an illustration of racial self-hatred....by 1968... prejudice against blackness remained prevalent, including among African-Americans.....Champions of African-American uplift in the 1960s sought to liberate blackness from the layers of contempt, fear, and hatred with which it had been smeared for centuries. Brown’s anthem poignantly reflected the psychic problem it sought to address: People secure in their status don’t feel compelled to trumpet their pride.....Colorism was part of the drama that starred Barack and Michelle Obama....Intra-racial colorism in Black America is often seen as a topic that should, if possible, be avoided, especially in “mixed company.” .....Colorism, however, remains a baleful reality.....
'60s  African-Americans  blackness  black_liberation_movement  black_nationalism  black_pride  Black_Is_Beautiful  colorism  James_Brown  music  Negritude  self-identification  songs  Spike_Lee  soul  white_supremacy  biases  self-acceptance  self-hatred  shadism  hits  1968 
july 2018 by jerryking
globeandmail.com: Black is not only beautiful, it's brilliant and heroic
February 14, 2009 G&M book review by JOHN HAREWOOD of A
BLACK STUDIES PRIMER
Heroes and Heroines of the African Diaspora By Keith A. P. Sandiford .
Asks the questions, Why is black history necessary? What topics should
be studied? Who will teach?

Summary
An essential text for students and scholars of black history. Features over 1,000 biographies of historical and contemporary black figures that have made a significant contribution to the development of modern civilisation. It is a celebration of the impact made by black people in areas including politics, engineering, agriculture, entertainment, literature, medicine, sport, philosophy and more. This easy reference encyclopedia has been compiled to fill the gaps in black studies in the school curricula, and will inspire students and teachers alike.
African-Americans  slavery  heroes  heroines  book_reviews  books  curriculum  Diaspora  Africa  primers  blackness  black_pride  black_studies  Black_Is_Beautiful  Negritude  self-identification  history  scholars 
february 2009 by jerryking

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