Social Movements, the Rise of Colorblind Conservativism, and What Comes Naturally
Garcia, Matt, Frontiers - A Journal of Women's Studies
EUGENE, OREGON: APRIL 2009
Last spring I spoke at a University of Oregon symposium commemorating the twenty-fifth anniversary of the publication of Michael Omi and Howard Winant's Racial Formation in the United States. (1) Emerging from the presentations was equal admiration for another book, Peggy Pascoe's What Comes Naturally. In the presentation "Challenges to the Social Constructionist View of Race in the Post-Genomic Era," for example, sociologist Catherine Lee used Pascoe's work to explain how the social constructionist view of race had evolved and how the emergence of interracial relations and multiracial children had stoked research on the origins of race among biologists. Others talked about the importance of Pascoe's just-released book, and Pascoe's presence at most of the sessions and receptions influenced the discussions that shaped the weekend. It might be easy to attribute this appreciation of Pascoe to the fact that we were on a campus that has long benefited from her wisdom as Beekman Professor of Northwest and Pacific History and professor of ethnic studies, though I think the praise from reviewers and the many awards that What Comes Naturally has won are a testament to the influence she has had beyond Eugene and will continue to have for years to come. (2)
RECONSTITUTING (AND EMPLOYING) COLORBLINDNESS
What Comes Naturally makes so many contributions to the study of race and American law that we as contributors to this Frontiers discussion can only rely on each other to convey a fraction of its importance. In my contribution I would like to share how Pascoe's study of interracial marriage--in her book and in her award-winning Journal of American History article of 1996--has influenced my own work as a teacher and a writer, improving my grasp of how the "resolution" of the miscegenation problem in the landmark 1967 case of Loving v. Virginia has had dramatic consequences in the realm of social movements. (3)
Pascoe's discussion of how the decision in the Loving case contributed to the emergence of colorblindness as an ideology breaks this history out of the singular celebratory interpretation many of my students and media sources want to apply to the case. From my experience teaching a course on miscegenation and interracial relations for more than a decade now, I have noticed an increase in the percentage of students coming from interracial marriages and an even greater number of students who want to see the act of interracial love as an extension of the Civil Rights agenda of the 1960s. At Brown University, for example, the most active "identity-based" student organization on campus is the Brown Organization of Multi-Racial and Bi-Racial Students, or "BOMBS." BOMBS hosts a series of events throughout the year, including the "Interracial Dating Symposium" during "Multiracial Week" which I have been invited to several times and which I avoid like the swine flu. I stay away not only because I do not see myself as a couples' …
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Publication information: Article title: Social Movements, the Rise of Colorblind Conservativism, and What Comes Naturally. Contributors: Garcia, Matt - Author. Journal title: Frontiers - A Journal of Women's Studies. Volume: 31. Issue: 3 Publication date: September 2010. Page number: 49+. © 2009 University of Nebraska Press. COPYRIGHT 2010 Gale Group.
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