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Monday, April 14, 2008

COLOR INITIATIVE REPORT 6: Whiteness and New Immigration to America

COLOR REPORT SIX: Color and the New Wave of Immigrants--Part 2 of How European Immigrants Became White.
Immigration and skin color (6:00)

I report on how recent immigrants to the United States feel about American notions of race and skin color.

Download (mp3)

Between 1881 and 1920 about twenty-four million immigrants from southern and eastern Europe put down roots in the US. In COLOR terms they were regarded as neither black nor white, but as a sort of "IN-BETWEEN” people –who would gradually become white –often after petitioning to the courts. To be white was to be more privileged--in the context of America’s strict racial pecking order. Beginning in the 1970’s a NEW WAVE of olive, tan and beige skinned immigrants arrived to these shores seeking the same opportunities. But color had become far more complex says David Roediger, author of “Working Toward Whiteness”.

Acceptance as fully white for this group of immigrants is VERY open to question: To Islamic immigrants or people who look like they might be of Islamic faith, particularly after 9/11. It’s open to question on the part of Asian immigrants because of the tremendous weight of the history of exclusion in the United States. Similarly but more complicated is the case with Latino immigrants.


The Color Initiative is funded by the Ford Foundation, with additional resources provided by the Massachusetts Foundation for the Humanities and the Funding Exchange (Paul Robeson Fund).

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I am still trying to become white but always end up gray. But I am 7 feet tall which is what most people see.

Your old pal Danny
Sly's BIL

WGBH , PRI and BBC Announce a World-Wide Reporting Initiative Focused on Color

WGBH Radio, Public Radio International and the BBC have announced the launch of “The Color Initiative”, a landmark journalism project that will examine complex global issues of politics, culture, history and society through the framework of human perceptions and experiences related to color. Once complete, this on-going project will air on The World, broadcasting on WGBH 89.7, Mon-Fri at 4pm and 7pm. Feature Color Initiative stories reported from around the globe will be produced by Lifted Veils Productions, a Boston-based non-profit radio journalism organization dedicated to exploring issues that divide society. Former NPR supervising senior editor and NPR’s former Race Relations Correspondent, Phillip Martin, will serve as lead correspondent. He is also the Executive Producer of Lifted Veils Productions. Anthony Brooks, The World’s former senior producer and former national correspondent for NPR, is the Color Initiative series editor. The World’s Executive Producer is Bob Ferrante. The project is made possible by a grant from the Ford Foundation and the Massachusetts Foundation for the Humanities. “The establishment of an international editorial beat dedicated to covering color worldwide is the first of its kind, and places The World in a unique position in public radio in the United States and Britain,” says Marita Rivero, General Manager for WGBH Radio and Television. Among the topics that will be explored by the Color Initiative are: • COLOR AND IMMIGRATION: A FOUR PART SERIES • IRAQ’S WAR DEAD, AMERICA’S RESPONSE AND THE ROLE OF COLOR • CASTE, COLOR AND EDUCATION IN INDIA The first report in the year-long project looks at the on-going marketing campaign by Benetton, which mixes business with socially conscious messages focusing on diversity of all sorts, including color. Those messages are now coming up against growing anti-immigrant realities in Europe, including the dominant presence of the Northern League in the very Italian city where Benetton is headquartered: Treviso. That report airs in early November. About The World Winner of the 2006 Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Award for Broadcast News, The World with anchor Lisa Mullins has been bringing daily international news to local audiences for the past 10 years. Monday through Friday at 4pm on WGBH 89.7, the international staff of The World presents a mix of news, features, interviews, and music from around the globe. The World is the first international radio news program developed specifically for an American audience, giving listeners an upbeat and informed take on the day's events. Co-produced by WGBH, the BBC World Service, and Public Radio International, The World is heard on more than 200 public radio stations across the country. About WGBH Listener-supported WGBH 89.7 is Boston's NPR® arts and culture station. Bringing you the best for more than 50 years, 89.7 serves its wide-ranging audience with a menu of classical music, NPR news, jazz, blues, folk, and spoken-word programs. The station is an active participant in New England's vibrant music community, presenting more than 300 performances every year, including live broadcasts and remote recordings from such diverse venues as Tanglewood, the Lowell Folk Festival, the Newport Jazz Festival, and WGBH's own studios. WGBH 89.7 can be heard online anywhere in the world at, and can be heard on Nantucket at WNCK 89.5.