‘Racial Imposter Syndrome’, Female Economists & Comic Books

by Leah Donnella of NPR

On this week’s episode of the race and identity podcast Code Switch, NPR explores “racial imposter syndrome” or when people with biracial and multi-ethnic identities feel like imposters of one or more of their identities because they don’t fit neatly into any one category. Whether it’s constantly being asked “What are you?” or being told ‘Well, you aren’t really Spanish” but then when shopping, “treated like every other Latina, followed around, then ignored at the counter,” a complex racial or ethnic identity can take a psychological toll. Natalia Romero, originally from Colombia, explains how although she inhabits white spaces and can pass as white, her experience is not white. She was the sole English speaker in her household and spoke on behalf of her parents starting at age nine. Helen Seely, a light-skinned biracial woman, reflects on her interactions with Black Americans: “It may sound strange — and there are so many layers to this that are hard to unpack — but I think what it comes down to is: they have more of a claim to ‘blackness’ than I ever will.” Heidi Durrow, organizer of the Mixed Remixed festival, says a highlight of her work is creating a space for biracial and multi-ethnic people where “no one is trying to do math on their family.”

Wielding Data, Women Force a Reckoning Over Bias in the Economics Field by Jim Tankersley and Noam Scheiber of The New York Times

Economics is a field that prides itself on the objective understanding of data. So when it came time to talk about gender bias at a recent American Economic Association panel, female economists knew how to get their colleagues’ attention: lots and lots of data. In economics, the rate of entry for women is lower than it is for math, engineering, and other hard sciences. Economics textbooks mention men four times as often as they do women. While readability tests show that papers by women are on average better-written than men’s, women wait half a year longer in peer review. But data alone doesn’t paint the full picture. Erin Hengel, a University of Liverpool economist, says she first became interested in gender issues when she noticed how students would “light up” when she really nailed an explanation but would light up for her male friend “even though he wasn’t nailing it.” Rhona Sharpe, president of the National Economics Association, says “I don’t think it’s because we don’t know what is implicit bias. We know…It’s whether we stand up and call it out, and usually we don’t.”

Pushing Diversity Is a Tough Business for Four Indie-Comics Publishers by Abraham Riesman of Vulture

Corporate comic book publishers like Marvel and DC are attempting to diversify their comics—without much success. There was a female Thor, a Pakistani-American girl as Ms. Marvel, and an Afro-Latino Spiderman, among others. Why didn’t these characters take off? Indie comic book publishers explain that to diversify comics, brand new characters with their own origin stories and worlds need to be created. Lion Forge Comics just introduced a hero with down syndrome, Iron Circus Comics has a “queer witch rally-racing comic,” and Black Mask Comics has BLACK, a comic where only black people have superpowers. David Steward II, co-founder of Lion Forge, talks about the big name publishers’ attempts: “When they do diversity, it’s almost [reactionary]…It’s almost kind of an advertising gimmick of sorts.” It can be difficult to compete with DC and Marvel, but some small publishers rely on online fan bases and distribution to libraries, and they know they have an edge: Steward’s business partner Carl Reed adds, “We’re just coming up with characters that represent the world as we see it.”

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