The Other Half of Happy

Posted in Books, Latino Studies, Media Archive, Novels, United States on 2019-08-20 22:11Z by Steven

The Other Half of Happy

Chronicle Books
2019-08-20
332 pages
5 5/8 x 8 1/8 in
Hardcover ISBN: 9781452169989

Rebecca Balcárcel

The Other Half of Happy

Quijana is a girl in pieces. One-half Guatemalan, one-half American: When Quijana’s Guatemalan cousins move to town, her dad seems ashamed that she doesn’t know more about her family’s heritage. One-half crush, one-half buddy: When Quijana meets Zuri and Jayden, she knows she’s found true friends. But she can’t help the growing feelings she has for Jayden. One-half kid, one-half grown-up: Quijana spends her nights Skyping with her ailing grandma and trying to figure out what’s going on with her increasingly hard-to-reach brother. In the course of this immersive and beautifully written novel, Quijana must figure out which parts of herself are most important, and which pieces come together to make her whole. This lyrical debut from Rebecca Balcárcel is a heartfelt poetic portrayal of a girl growing up, fitting in, and learning what it means to belong.

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Natasha Díaz on Turning Her Black Jewish Childhood Into a YA Novel

Posted in Articles, Interviews, Judaism, Latino Studies, Media Archive, Religion, United States on 2019-08-15 17:41Z by Steven

Natasha Díaz on Turning Her Black Jewish Childhood Into a YA Novel

Alma
2019-08-15

Emily Burack, Associate Editor

Natasha Díaz was 9 years old when she and her mom went on Oprah to talk about the experience of being a multiracial family. Díaz, who has a Jewish father and a Liberian and Brazilian mom, had recently been featured in a documentary called Between Black & White. When Oprah asked her a question, young Natasha froze up (you can watch the video here).

Well, she is freezing up no longer — Díaz’s debut YA novel, Color Me In, fictionalizes her childhood and tells the coming-of-age story of Navaeh Levitz. Navaeh is a Black Jewish teenager whose father forces her to have a belated bat mitzvah at age 16. Navaeh’s parents are in the midst of a divorce, and the bat mitzvah is her father’s way of having her stay connected to his family. Meanwhile, Navaeh is struggling to figure out her identity, her relationship to her blackness, her privilege, a blossoming relationship, and her family. It’s a compelling and timely read.

We had the chance to chat with Díaz about writing Color Me In, #OwnVoices in young adult literature, and connecting with her Jewish identity.

How close does the protagonist Naveah’s experience as a Black Jewish teenager mirror your own?

I would say in a lot of ways it’s similar, and in a lot of ways it’s very different.

We have very similar backgrounds, racially and religiously. I am multiracial, she’s biracial. I’m Brazilian, Liberian, and Jewish, where she’s just half-Black and half-Jewish. And my parents separated, similar to her, although mine separated when I was much younger than she was. And, as a result of my parents’ divorce, it was literally in the divorce papers that I had to be raised Jewish.

Aside from that, I would say we’re completely different. I was raised very immersed in my culture, especially on my mom’s side, which is where the Black and Brazilian side is. My parents had split custody [over me], so I spent time with both families, but I’m closer to my mom’s family because a lot of my dad’s family doesn’t live in New York City. Where Naveah was sheltered from her identity, I was very immersed in mine.

It doesn’t mean that we haven’t, at times, shared a lot of the same insecurities, like feeling you don’t really fit in in either world, or you’re not really sure what part of yourself you have a right to claim or own. I’ve never had an extremely religious connection to Judaism. Culturally, though, especially growing up in New York City, there’s a lot of Jewish cultural things that I connect to on a personal level…

Read the entire interview here.

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La nueva tocaya

Posted in Articles, Autobiography, Caribbean/Latin America, Latino Studies, Media Archive, Mexico, Passing, Texas, United States on 2019-08-11 02:42Z by Steven

La nueva tocaya

Chiricú Journal: Latina/o Literatures, Arts, and Cultures
Volume 3, Number 2, Spring 2019 (Intersecting Latinx Lives: The Politics of Race)
pages 147-150
DOI: 10.2979/chiricu.3.2.14

Jessie D. Turner, Social Justice Educator, Academic and Creative Writer, Program Manager
Goleta, California

We were parked in their northwestern Vermont gravel driveway, on our way somewhere, but not yet gone. The autumn leaves glowed the color of cardinals and marigolds and honeycomb and mud, colors common to many seasons; it’s the mosaic, rather than any uniqueness in the colors themselves, that invites worship, each dying leaf fitted one against the next. My stepmother looked at my father as he turned from the front seat, looked at me, and admitted, “Becky thinks it’s important that you know . . .” My stepmother knew my love of and skill at Spanish, which I was taking in high school. She knew how much I missed the southern Arizona desert, where I lived twice as a child with my mother. Adding this knowledge together, she knew that I might value knowing that my paternal grandfather was Mexican. I had never heard of this grandfather before, never even wondered if I had one; why would I, when having moved back to Vermont just three years earlier, I was still grappling to intersect with my father?

After that month’s weekend visit with him and my stepmother, I took the return bus two hours southeast to where I lived with my mother in the Upper Valley. On Monday, I showed a slightly yellowed newspaper clipping to my art teachers, Pete and Elizabeth. We stood between their desks, gray metal veiled by gray camera equipment cabinets, and the printing press that hulked beneath the half-windowed whitewashed wall. My aunt—my dad’s half-sister and unrelated to my grandfather—had inherited that yellowed clipping and another half photograph from my grandmother. My aunt had excavated them from her farmhouse bedroom closet after they’d been in my family forty-five years. She had passed them on to me. “Look! This article mentions my dad’s father, who was a Golden Gloves boxer in the 50s!” I enthused. As I shared the photo, I stared into this heavily secreted face, this face now reborn. This face, this face, it belonged to a father who mine had never seen. As such, this new paper ancestor’s boxing face may have settled into my consciousness, but his race dissolved completely beyond it. That he was Mexican remained absolutely external to me. I was sixteen.

The balcony of my first apartment at age twenty-four reached deep enough for exactly one folding chair, which I angled toward the southeast for a clear view of the US-Mexico border. Each weekend morning I sat out there sipping chamomile tea, learning palm-frond melodies, and looking for hints of movement. I looked past the opera house and wide basin of parallel train tracks. Past the stores lining South El Paso Ave., the ones offering cheap shoes, bra and panty sets, and household items to those privileged enough to cross north for the day. Past layers and layers and layers of chain-link fencing and razor wire and video cameras. Past the Rio Bravo tamed into an empty cement wash. At 9 AM the line of cars waiting to cross into the US still stood relatively short; by noon it would triple. From my perch four blocks north of this international border crossing, the cars looked like Hot Wheels sliding effortlessly along a predetermined track: JuárezEl Paso, Juárez–El Paso.

On a Saturday afternoon in late January, I flowed through the city’s arteries and veins. I wound past the art museum where I had seen Cheech Marin’s Chicano Visions exhibit, past the ongoing restoration of the Plaza Theater. I wound past San Jacinto Plaza, lined with people waiting for city buses that themselves stood waiting for their timetables. Past El Segundo Barrio murals honoring La Virgen and Iztaccíhuatl and Popocatépetl, past corner stores selling international phone cards and Bimbo brand bread, past brown children squealing joy at a tiny puppy. At the Armijo Branch Library, southeast of my apartment and barely a breath’s sweep from la linea I found my weekly writing group waiting. That day I would share a recent reflection, short in length but nothing short of a revelation:..

Read the entire article here.

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When it Comes to Latinidad, Who Is Included and Who Isn’t?

Posted in Anthropology, Articles, Caribbean/Latin America, Latino Studies, Media Archive, United States on 2019-07-31 20:28Z by Steven

When it Comes to Latinidad, Who Is Included and Who Isn’t?

Remezcla
2019-07-30

Janel Martinez

At the top of November 2018, an Instagram meme created by writer Alan Pelaez Lopez went viral. The Afro-Indigenous (Zapotec) activist placed the term Latinidad on a car making a sharp right turn at an exit. At the top of the image, the road sign that points ahead lists, “admitting racism & anti-Blackness exists & a commitment to build solidarity with Black and Indigenous people.” The arrow pointing right notes, “mestiza supremacy & your insistence that your great-great-great-great grandmother was Black.” The car, which moved in the latter direction, symbolizes the ideologies of Latinidad.

A few days later, Pelaez posted on their Instagram account that “Latinidad is canceled.”

With each repost or share, Latinxs, a large percentage identifying as Afro-Latinx and/or Indigenous, championed Pelaez Lopez’s meme and called for cancellation. Others, many who would be racialized as white or mixed-raced (mulatto or mestizo) Latinxs, contested the message.

Though positioned as an all-inclusive cultural identity, Latinidad has historically proven to be a term beneficial to a select few. Gauging one’s proximity to whiteness – gender, sexual preference and able-bodied privileges included – Latinidad incites the question, who is included and, ultimately, excluded from its definition?…

Read the entire article here.

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Sabrina & Corina: Stories

Posted in Books, Latino Studies, Media Archive, Native Americans/First Nation, Novels, Women on 2019-07-22 19:37Z by Steven

Sabrina & Corina: Stories

One World (an imprint of Penguin Random House)
2019-04-02
224 pages
Hardcover ISBN: 9780525511298

Kali Fajardo-Anstine

Latinas of Indigenous descent living in the American West take center stage in this haunting debut story collection—a powerful meditation on friendship, mothers and daughters, and the deep-rooted truths of our homelands.

Kali Fajardo-Anstine’s magnetic story collection breathes life into her Latina characters of indigenous ancestry and the land they inhabit in the American West. Against the remarkable backdrop of Denver, Colorado—a place that is as fierce as it is exquisite—these women navigate the land the way they navigate their lives: with caution, grace, and quiet force.

In “Sugar Babies,” ancestry and heritage are hidden inside the earth but tend to rise during land disputes. “Any Further West” follows a sex worker and her daughter as they leave their ancestral home in southern Colorado only to find a foreign and hostile land in California. In “Tomi,” a woman leaves prison and finds herself in a gentrified city that is a shadow of the one she remembers from her childhood. And in the title story, “Sabrina & Corina,” a Denver family falls into a cycle of violence against women, coming together only through ritual.

Sabrina & Corina is a moving narrative of unrelenting feminine power and an exploration of the universal experiences of abandonment, heritage, and an eternal sense of home.

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That little Mexican part of me: race, place and transnationalism among U.S. African-descent Mexicans

Posted in Anthropology, Articles, Latino Studies, Media Archive, Social Science, United States on 2019-07-17 16:50Z by Steven

That little Mexican part of me: race, place and transnationalism among U.S. African-descent Mexicans

Ethnic and Racial Studies
Published online: 2019-06-05
DOI: 10.1080/01419870.2019.1626016

Laura A. Lewis, Professor of Anthropology in Modern Languages and Linguistics
University of Southampton, Southampton, United Kingdom

This article uses semi-structured interviews and participant observation to examine transnationalism and notions of race among first- and second-generation young adult Afro-descended Mexicans and Mexican-Americans in the United States. I suggest that transnationally inflected understandings of race encourage both generations to privilege place-based over ancestry-based racial identities. For the first generation, which is mostly undocumented, place is part of their socialization as Mexicans and a way to forge a more secure sense of belonging in the United States. For members of the second generation, place resolves their position as an anomalous “race” not recognized in the United States.

Read or purchase the article here.

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The Inheritance of Haunting, Poems

Posted in Books, Gay & Lesbian, Latino Studies, Media Archive, Poetry, United States on 2019-07-12 18:46Z by Steven

The Inheritance of Haunting, Poems

University of Notre Dame Press
March 2019
108 pages
6.00 x 9.00in
Paperback ISBN: 9780268105389
Hardcover ISBN: 9780268105372
eBook (PDF) ISBN: 9780268105396
eBook (EPUB) ISBN: 9780268105402

Heidi Andrea Restrepo Rhodes

The Inheritance of Haunting

Winner of the 2018 Andrés Montoya Poetry Prize, The Inheritance of Haunting, by Heidi Andrea Restrepo Rhodes, is a collection of poems contending with historical memory and its losses and gains carried within the body, wrought through colonization and its generations of violence, war, and survival.

The driving forces behind Rhodes’s work include a decolonizing ethos; a queer sensibility that extends beyond sexual and gender identities to include a politics of deviance; errantry; ramshackled bodies; and forms of loving and living that persist in their wild difference. Invoking individual and collective ghosts inherited across diverse geographies, this collection queers the space between past, present, and future. In these poems, haunting is a kind of memory weaving that can bestow a freedom from the attenuations of the so-called American dream, which, according to Rhodes, is a nightmare of assimilation, conquest, and genocide. How love unfolds is also a Big Bang emergence into life—a way to, again and again, cut the future open, open up the opening, undertake it, begin.

These poems are written for immigrants, queer and transgender people of color, women, Latin Americans, diasporic communities, and the many impacted by war.

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New Academic Minor in Critical Mixed Race Studies

Posted in Articles, Asian Diaspora, Campus Life, Caribbean/Latin America, Course Offerings, Identity Development/Psychology, Latino Studies, Native Americans/First Nation, United States on 2019-06-06 14:34Z by Steven

New Academic Minor in Critical Mixed Race Studies

San Francisco State University
College of Ethnic Studies
1600 Holloway Avenue
San Francisco, California 94132-4100

2019-06-05

Professors Wei Ming Dariotis and Nicole Leopardo have founded a new academic minor in Critical Mixed Race Studies (in the College of Ethnic Studies at San Francisco State University. This is the first degree-granting program in the field of mixed race studies in the United States!

Critical Mixed Race Studies emphasizes the mutability of race and the porosity of racial boundaries to critique processes of racialization and social stratification based on race. Critical Mixed Race Studies addresses local and global systemic injustice rooted in systems of racialization.

Total Units for Minor: 18
Introductory Course (3 units)

  • ETHS 110: Critical Thinking in the Ethnic Studies Experience*

Ethnic Focus (9 units)
Choose three courses, no more than one from each of the sections A through D)*

  • Section A: Asian American Studies
    • AAS 301: Asian Americans of Mixed Heritage
    • AAS 330: Nikkei in the United States
  • Section B: American Indian Studies
    • American Indian Studies 350/AFRS 350/LTNS 355: Black-Indians in the US
  • Section C: Latina/Latino Studies
    • LTNS 380 Afro/Latina/o Diasporas* (has not been taught in the last 5 years)
    • LTNS 278: History of Latinos in the U.S.
  • Section D: Africana
    • AFRS 401: Pan African Black Psychology: A North American, South American and Caribbean Comparison

Comparative/Elective (3 units)
Choose one course from the following)

  • RRS 625: Mixed Race Studies+
  • AAS 522: Transracial Adoptee Experience+

Applied Courses (at least 3 units; choose one from below; must be with CMRS Faculty)

  • ETHS 685: Projects in Teaching Critical Mixed Race Studies (must be for one of the courses listed above or any course with a; repeatable for 1-4 units)
  • ETHS 697: Field Research or Internship in Critical Mixed Race Studies (repeatable for 1-6 units)
  • ETHS 699: Special Study*

Key: *Required Course +Elective Course

For more information, click here.

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Escaping Culture – Finding Your Place in the World

Posted in Autobiography, Books, Latino Studies, Media Archive, Monographs, United States on 2019-06-06 14:01Z by Steven

Escaping Culture – Finding Your Place in the World

TheBookPatch (an imprint of Wilshire Press)
2019-04-05
168 pages
6 x 0.4 x 9 inches
Paperback ISBN-13: 978-1092860482

Frederico Wilson
Sumner, Washington

Freedom is a mindset more powerful than any assemblage, faction or group.

Born to a Mexican/Yaqui Indian mother, and Mexican/Anglo father, the author shares life-altering events and the people that shaped his mixed-race “American” experience.

For as long as he can remember, identity by choice or force has wrought conflict and contradictions. Who is he? What is he? Where did he come from? Where does he belong? Where is he going?

His surname implies he’s white, but his brown skin begs to differ. Is he Mexican? His Mother’s family tree most certainly is, but his Father’s Celtic, Iberian branch bears his Anglo surname. Is he more culturally white European than ethnically Latino? Is he a Native American, rooted in his beloved Yaqui Abuela? To which ethnic tribe does he belong?

The author asks readers to think of this book as explanatory theater; as a three-act play providing racial and cultural context, commentary, and value to the social interaction paradigms we all share, but often fail to recognize in ourselves and one another.

His essays testify, an authentic telling of naivety, consequence, rebellion, and evolutionary awareness. And of life discovered, marinated in an introspective stew of love, fear, indulgence, compassion, humility, and redemption.

He intends to affirm and provoke, and open our eyes to a world seen through an independent and different colored lens. Let your guard down. Consider his
observations a handshake between friends. Relax in a comfortable chair, have a glass of wine and peruse. He won’t bite. Well, maybe, a little.

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I’m Darker Than My Daughter. Here’s Why It Matters.

Posted in Articles, Family/Parenting, Latino Studies, Media Archive, United States on 2019-05-25 02:31Z by Steven

I’m Darker Than My Daughter. Here’s Why It Matters.

NYT Parenting
The New York Times
2019-05-21

Norma Newton

Norma Newton and her daughter at their home in Los Angeles.
Norma Newton and her daughter at their home in Los Angeles.
Carolina Adame

Breaching colorism with my little girl sent me reeling back into my childhood shame.

Our bedtime routine that night started off like so many others, harried but mostly sweet. After making our way through brushing teeth and getting into pajamas, my daughter and I lay down on her bedroom floor to sing songs, the final step before crawling into bed.

When I tried to curl up next to my 4-year-old, though, I sensed her hesitation. She wiggled her little body away from mine each time I inched closer. “Do you not want mommy close to you, sweetie?” I asked, assuming she was initiating a game to extend our nighttime ritual. Her light-brown eyes locked in on me as she brushed her honey-colored locks aside with her hand.

In a casual on-the-edge-of-sleep voice she cooed, “Your skin is dark. I don’t want you to touch me.”

My brown Indigenous Latina body stiffened; I labored to breathe, outraged and confused. She rendered me speechless…

Read the entire article here.

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