Becoming Yellow: A Short History of Racial Thinking

In their earliest encounters with Asia, Europeans almost uniformly characterized the people of China and Japan as white. This was a means of describing their wealth and sophistication, their willingness to trade with the West, and their presumed capacity to become Christianized. But by the end of the seventeenth century the category of whiteness was reserved for Europeans only. When and how did Asians become “yellow” in the Western imagination? Looking at the history of racial thinking, Becoming Yellow explores the notion of yellowness and shows that this label originated not in early travel texts or objective descriptions, but in the eighteenth- and nineteenth-century scientific discourses on race.


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The terms Yellow, White, Black and Red to describe people never made sense to me. I have always thought the terms are inaccurate, divisive and an oversimplification that serves only to benefit the racist doctrine of White Supremacy.


At Least We Talk About Race in the USA: Zadie Smith on Writing, Race and Color

Hello Meltingpot Readers, Last week Wednesday I skipped out of work as early as possible so I could get a front row seat at the University of Pennsylvania’s Speaker’s Series on Color featuring one …


Dorothy Roberts – Fatal Invention

Professor and legal scholar Dorothy Roberts explores the effects of race-based science in her new book, Fatal Invention: How Science, Politics, and Big Business Re-create Race in the Twenty-first Century. It’s the first text of its kind to document the development of racial science and biotechnology based on genetics and to map its implications for equality in America.

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The Color Complex (Revised): The Politics of Skin Color in a New Millennium:

The Color Complex (Revised): The Politics of Skin Color in a New Millennium [Kathy Russell, Midge Wilson, Ronald Hall] on *FREE* super saver shipping on qualifying offers.

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Bicultural Mama: The Oddity of Skin Color Labels to Identify Race


Society gives skin color labels to people to identify race. When I was a child, I learned that Asians like me were “yellow.” I recall looking at my skin and thinking, “It’s not yellow. Looks kind of tan to me.”

Community Village‘s insight:

I was just thinking the other day that I need to write another post about how ridiculous these skin color labels are.

Here’s the new over simplification:
Africans are Ebony
Asians and Native Americans are Golden
Europeans are Pink

Three things combine to create our color:
Hemoglobin, which can only be seen through thin skin
Carotene, which can only be seen if there is not a lot of melanin
Melanin, which blocks the other two colors when there is enough of it

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melanin | Abagond

See on Scoop.itMixed American Life

Melanin is the substance that gives skin, eyes and hair their colour. It is found in most living things. It makes squid ink and crow feathers black. Those without melanin are albinos. Even white pe…

Glenn Robinson‘s insight:

Abagond always amazes me. He is great at finding and presenting information in an interesting and concise way.

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Genealogy: Afro-Amerindians, Slavery and the vagaries of “free persons of color” | Hontas Farmer

See on Scoop.itMixed American Life

“What I knew was told to me in the form of a oral history.
The oral history of the Farmer family as passed down to me in brief. Our first black ancestor to arrive in America came in about 1619 or 1620, we don’t know which for sure. He was one of the first Africans to come to America. He was not yet a slave, slavery came latter. His name was John Richard Hewing because he was an wood worker, a hewer of wood. My uncle is named after him. There weren’t many women available among the whites and the blacks. So he took a native american woman as a wife. With her he had 7 children and so was born the farmer family.”

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(1)ne Drop: Conversations on Skin Color, Race, and Identity

Via Scoop.itMixed American Life

(1)ne Drop is a photo essay-style documentary that explores the “other” faces of Blackness – those who may not immediately be recognized, accepted, or embraced as “Black” in this visually racialized society.
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Legal History of the Color Line | Frank W. Sweet

Via Scoop.itMixed American Life

“…few Americans can truly say that they are genetically unmixed. Yet liberals and conservatives alike agree that so-called Whites and Blacks are distinct political “races.” When did ideology triumph over reality? How did America paint itself into such a strange corner?”
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Mixed Dreamer – (1)ne Drop: Conversations on Skin Color, Race,…

Via Scoop.itMixed American Life

(1)ne Drop: Conversations on Skin Color, Race, and Identity Africana Studies scholar Yaba Blay, Ph.D. and photographer Noelle Théard are collaborating on an innovative new project: a photo essay book…
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