Dispatches from the Color Line: The Press and Multiracial America

SUNY Press, 5 .. 2007 - 295 ˹
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Explores contemporary news media coverage of multiracial people and identities.

When modern news media choose to focus attention on people of multiracial descent, how does this fit with broader contemporary and historical racial discourses? Do these news narratives complicate common understandings of race and race relations? Dispatches from the Color Line explores these issues by examining contemporary news media coverage of multiracial people and identities. Catherine R. Squires looks at how journalists utilize information from many sourcesincluding politicians, bureaucrats, activists, scholars, demographers, and marketersto link multiracial identity to particular racial norms, policy preferences, and cultural trends. She considers individuals who were accused (rightly or wrongly) of misrepresenting their racial identity to the public for personal gain, and also compares the new racial categories of Census 2000 as reported in Black owned, Asian American owned, and mainstream newspapers. These comparisons reveal how a new racial group is framed in mass media, and how different media sources reinforce or challenge long-standing assumptions about racial identity and belonging in the United States.

Catherine R. Squires is Assistant Professor of Communication Studies and Afroamerican and African Studies at the University of Michigan.


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Discourses of Race Mixing in America
2 The Indiscernible Body of Susie Phipps
A Peculiar Case of White Identity in the News
4 Descended from Whom? Defining Maria Hylton in the News
Multiracial Identity and the 2000 Censusin Asian American Black Americanand Dominant Periodicals
6 After the Census
Dispatches from the TwentyFirstCentury Color Line

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˹ 3 - A racial project is simultaneously an interpretation, representation, or explanation of racial dynamics, and an effort to reorganize and redistribute resources along particular racial lines.
˹ 38 - First, lynching is a colorline murder. Second, crimes against women is the excuse, not the cause. Third, it is a national crime and requires a national remedy. Proof that lynching follows the color line is to be found in the statistics which have been kept for the past twenty-five years. During the few years preceding this period and while frontier law existed, the executions showed a majority of white victims.
˹ 213 - When the family collapses it is the children that are usually damaged. When it happens on a massive scale the community itself is crippled. So, unless we work to strengthen the family, to create conditions under which most parents will stay together all the rest: schools and playgrounds, public assistance and private concern, will never be enough to cut completely the circle of despair and deprivation.
˹ 145 - Some biracial brothers and sisters might do well to heed advice from Lenny Kravitz [American rock star] . 'You don't have to deny the White side of you if you're mixed,' he says. 'Accept the blessing of having the advantage of two cultures, but understand that you are Black. In this world, if you have one spot of Black blood, you are Black. So get over it'.
˹ 29 - Ordinarily the marginal man is a mixed blood, like the Mulatto in the United States or the Eurasian in Asia, but that is apparently because the man of mixed blood is one who lives in two worlds, in both of which he is more or less of a stranger. The Christian convert in Asia or in Africa exhibits many if not most of the characteristics of the marginal man the same spiritual instability, intensified self-consciousness, restlessness, and malaise...
˹ 5 - Entman (1993), a communications scholar, defined framing as selecting "some aspects of a perceived reality and mak{ing} them more salient in a communicating text, in such a way as to promote a particular problem definition, causal interpretation, moral evaluation, and/or treatment recommendation
˹ 58 - race" is no longer visible, it is no longer intelligible: if "white" can be "black", what is white? Race passing not only creates, to use Garber's term, a category crisis [...] but also destabilizes the grounds of privilege founded on racial identity (Ginsberg 1996: 8).
˹ 29 - ... Sociologists in America and abroad have done much significant work implicitly and explicitly on the general subject of the social type that results from race and culture contacts. Park, particularly, coined a term which he saw fit to use in the study of the kind of relationship between racial hybrids and "the two worlds in both of which he is more or less a stranger" "the marginal man."2 I am proposing to isolate another deviant type, for which I employ the term "sojourner.
˹ 3 - States, they reinvent racialization as "racial formation" defining it as "a sociohistorical process by which racial categories are created, inhabited, transformed, and destroyed.
˹ 233 - Analysis of Northwestern University Law School's Struggle over Minority Faculty Hiring.

ǡѺ (2007)

Catherine R. Squires is Assistant Professor of Communication Studies and Afroamerican and African Studies at the University of Michigan.