Mom Was a Brown-Skinned Asian Migrant. She Was Also Racist. Now What?

Posted in Articles, Asian Diaspora, Canada, Family/Parenting, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, United States on 2019-08-27 01:19Z by Steven

Mom Was a Brown-Skinned Asian Migrant. She Was Also Racist. Now What?

Human Parts
2019-08-05

Kate Rigg, Actor, Writer, activist, futurist, culture vulture, Amerasian rebel


That’s her on the left. She loved sunglasses. And me. And whiteness. All photos taken/owned by the author.

The dirty little secret of my New American family

Both sides of my family, the white one but especially the Southeast Asian one, are going to freak when they see that title. However, since my mom went to the great Gucci outlet in the sky a few years ago, there is no one here to throw a massage sandal at my head and verbally assault me for an hour in response. And my dad barely does email, let alone read blogs, so let’s continue.

The title of my story is the great unspoken truth for many of us North Americans “of color.” I have heard my mom say, “Send them back!” in various political and casual conversations concerning various ethnic groups — including her own…

Read the entire article here.

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Breaking the Ocean: A Memoir of Race, Rebellion, and Reconciliation

Posted in Autobiography, Biography, Books, Canada, Media Archive, Monographs, Social Justice on 2019-08-20 18:17Z by Steven

Breaking the Ocean: A Memoir of Race, Rebellion, and Reconciliation

House of Anansi Press
2019-08-20
280 pages
8.5 in × 5.5 in
Paperback ISBN: 9781487006471
Ebook ISBN: 9781487006488

Annahid Dashtgard

Cover of Breaking the Ocean

Annahid Dashtgard was born into a supportive mixed-race family in 1970s Iran. Then came the 1979 Islamic Revolution, which ushered in a powerful and orthodox religious regime. Her family was forced to flee their homeland, immigrating to a small town in Alberta, Canada. As a young girl, Dashtgard was bullied, shunned, and ostracized by both her peers at school and adults in the community. Home offered little respite as her parents were embroiled in their own struggles, exposing the sharp contrasts between her British mother and Persian father.

Determined to break free from her past, Dashtgard created a new identity for herself as a driven young woman who found strength through political activism, eventually becoming a leader in the anti–corporate globalization movement of the late 1990s. But her unhealed trauma was re-activated following the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Suffering burnout, Dashtgard checked out of her life and took the first steps towards personal healing, a journey that continues to this day.

Breaking the Ocean introduces a unique perspective on how racism and systemic discrimination result in emotional scarring and ongoing PTSD. It is a wake-up call to acknowledge our differences, offering new possibilities for healing and understanding through the revolutionary power of resilience. Dashtgard answers the universal questions of what it means to belong, what it takes to become whole, and ultimately what is required to create change in ourselves and in society.

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Viola Desmond: Her Life and Times

Posted in Biography, Books, Canada, History, Media Archive, Monographs, Women on 2019-08-06 20:38Z by Steven

Viola Desmond: Her Life and Times

Roseway Publishing (an imprint of Fernwood Publishing)
October 2018
128 pages
Paperback ISBN: 9781773631233
Kindle ISBN: 9781773631257
ePub ISBN: 9781773631240

Graham Reynolds, Professor Emeritus and the Viola Desmond Chair in Social Justice
Cape Breton University, Sydney, Nova Scotia, Canada

with Wanda Robson

Teacher’s Guide for Viola Desmond: Her Life and Times

Many Canadians know that Viola Desmond is the first Black, non-royal woman to be featured on Canadian currency. But fewer know the details of Viola Desmond’s life and legacy. In 1946, Desmond was arrested for refusing to give up her seat in a whites-only section of a movie theatre in New Glasgow, Nova Scotia. Her singular act of courage was a catalyst in the struggle for racial equality that eventually ended segregation in Nova Scotia.

Authors Graham Reynolds and Wanda Robson (Viola’s sister) look beyond the theatre incident and provide new insights into her life. They detail not only her act of courage in resisting the practice of racial segregation in Canada, but also her extraordinary achievement as a pioneer African Canadian businesswoman. In spite of the widespread racial barriers that existed in Canada during most of the twentieth century, Viola Desmond became the pre-eminent Black beauty culturist in Canada, establishing the first Black beauty studio in Halifax and the Desmond School of Beauty Culture. She also created her own line of beauty products.

Accessible, concise and timely, this book tells the incredible, important story of Viola Desmond, considered by many to be Canada’s Rosa Parks.

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Viola Desmond $10 bill wins international banknote of the year design award

Posted in Articles, Arts, Biography, Canada, History, Media Archive, Women on 2019-08-06 00:59Z by Steven

Viola Desmond $10 bill wins international banknote of the year design award

CBC News
2019-04-30

Cassie Williams, Reporter/Editor


In March 2018, the federal government unveiled the vertical banknote design featuring Desmond’s portrait and a map of her north-end Halifax neighbourhood. The bill went into circulation in November. (Bank of Canada)

Canadian banknote tops designs from Switzerland, Norway, Russia, Solomon Islands

A Canadian $10 bill featuring Nova Scotia civil rights pioneer Viola Desmond has been named the best in the world.

The International Bank Note Society has announced the Desmond bill won the coveted Bank Note of the Year Award for 2018, beating out top designs from places like Switzerland, Norway, Russia and the Solomon Islands.

In March 2018, the federal government unveiled the vertical banknote design featuring Desmond’s portrait and a map of her north-end Halifax neighbourhood. The bill went into circulation in November.

Desmond played a seminal role in Canada’s civil rights movement when, on Nov. 8, 1946, she went to see a movie at the Roseland Theatre in New Glasgow, N.S., while her car was getting fixed.

Desmond, 32, was dragged out of the theatre by police and jailed for defiantly sitting in the “whites only” section of the film house. At the time, black people could only sit in the balcony.

Her ensuing legal fight against that injustice helped end segregation in Nova Scotia. In 2010, she was posthumously awarded an apology and a pardon…

Read the entire article here.

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How I Learned to Love My Natural Hair

Posted in Articles, Autobiography, Canada, Media Archive on 2019-07-30 20:15Z by Steven

How I Learned to Love My Natural Hair

The Walrus
2019-07-30

Chelene Knight


The Walrus

I’ve spent thousands of dollars trying to turn my hair into anything but what it is: black and curly

“Beauty was not simply something to behold; it was something one could do.”
Toni Morrison, The Bluest Eye

When I was fifteen years old, I remember going to one of the many hair salons inside what was then called the Metrotown Centre mall, located in Burnaby, British Columbia. I wanted somebody to fix my amateur, home-dyed, white-blond hair. I’ll never forget the way the stylist looked me up and down like she was assessing the situation, assessing the damage. She paused for a millisecond with her white hand on her hip before blurting out that they couldn’t “do my kind of hair” at this salon and that I might want to try something across the street. Before she even said which salon, I assumed she meant I should go to Abantu, a salon that specialized in braids, weaves, and fades—or, as the stylist put it, “the Black salon.”

I froze. Shouldn’t I be able to go to any salon I wanted? Why was she trying to make this choice for me? My reaction in that moment consisted of a blank stare, disappointment, and confusion. At first, I assumed she was reluctant to fix my homemade hair mistake because maybe it was unfixable. But that didn’t make sense. Her words cut deep. When she said, “My kind of hair,” it was the word kind that punched me in the stomach. My thoughts raced. I never heard of someone turning away a customer—a paying customer—for not having the right type of hair. I decided that I wasn’t going to take no for an answer…

Read the entire article here.

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Halfbreed

Posted in Autobiography, Books, Canada, Forthcoming Media, Monographs, Native Americans/First Nation, Women on 2019-07-30 14:53Z by Steven

Halfbreed

McClelland & Stewart (an imprint of Penguin Random House Canada)
2019-11-05
224 pages
Paperback ISBN: 9780771024092
EBook ISBN: 9780771024108

Maria Campbell

Halfbreed

A new, fully restored edition of the essential Canadian classic.

An unflinchingly honest memoir of her experience as a Métis woman in Canada, Maria Campbell’s Halfbreed depicts the realities that she endured and, above all, overcame. Maria was born in Northern Saskatchewan, her father the grandson of a Scottish businessman and Métis woman—a niece of Gabriel Dumont whose family fought alongside Riel and Dumont in the 1885 Rebellion; her mother the daughter of a Cree woman and French-American man. This extraordinary account, originally published in 1973, bravely explores the poverty, oppression, alcoholism, addiction, and tragedy Maria endured throughout her childhood and into her early adult life, underscored by living in the margins of a country pervaded by hatred, discrimination, and mistrust. Laced with spare moments of love and joy, this is a memoir of family ties and finding an identity in a heritage that is neither wholly Indigenous or Anglo; of strength and resilience; of indominatable spirit.

This edition of Halfbreed includes a new introduction written by Indigenous (Métis) scholar Dr. Kim Anderson detailing the extraordinary work that Maria has been doing since its original publication 46 years ago, and an afterword by the author looking at what has changed, and also what has not, for Indigenous people in Canada today. Restored are the recently discovered missing pages from the original text of this groundbreaking and significant work.

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Soma Text: Living, Writing, and Staging Racial Hybridity

Posted in Books, Canada, Forthcoming Media, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Monographs on 2019-07-16 14:02Z by Steven

Soma Text: Living, Writing, and Staging Racial Hybridity

Wilfrid Laurier University Press
2019-06-30
295 pages
6 x 1 x 9 inches
ISBN13: 978-1-77112-240-5

Michelle La Flamme, Professor of English
University of the Fraser Valley, Abbotsford, British Columbia, Canada

Canada’s history is bicultural, Indigenous, and multilingual, and these characteristics have given risen to a number of strategies used by our writers to code racially mixed characters. This book examines contemporary Canadian literature and drama in order to tease out some of those strategies and the social and cultural factors that inform them.

Racially hybrid characters in literature have served a matrix of needs. They are used as shorthand for interracial desire, signifiers of taboo love, images of impurity, symbols of degeneration, and examples of beauty and genetic perfection. Their fates have been used to suggest the futility of marrying across racial lines, or the revelation of their “one drop” signals a climactic downfall. Other narratives suggest mixed-race bodies are foundational to colonization and signify contact between colonial and Indigenous bodies.

Author Michelle LaFlamme approaches racial hybridity with a cross-generic and cross-racial approach, unusual in the field of hybridity studies, by analyzing characters with different racial mixes in autobiographies, fiction, and drama. Her analysis privileges literary texts and the voices of artists rather than sociological explanations of the mixed-race experience. The book suggests that the hyper-visualization of mixed-race bodies in mono-racial contexts creates a scopophilic interest in how those bodies look and perform race.

La Flamme’s term “soma text” draws attention to the constructed, performative aspects of this form of embodiment. The writers she examines witness that living in a racially hybrid and ambiguous body is a complex engagement that involves reading and decoding the body in sophisticated ways, involving both the multiracial body and the racialized gaze of the onlooker.

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Looking white and being Aboriginal

Posted in Articles, Autobiography, Canada, Media Archive, Native Americans/First Nation, Passing on 2019-06-11 20:18Z by Steven

Looking white and being Aboriginal

CBC News
2017-06-21

Regan Burden


Regan Burden is from Port Hope Simpson, but now lives in St. John’s. (Evan Smith)

It was a beautiful summer day in downtown St. John’s; my friend was working a food truck and on my way to work, I’d often stop to say hello, maybe grab a poutine to eat on my way to work.

One day, he had a friend with him; he was tall, handsome, had dark hair and a nice smile. He told me he had seen me at a show before, but I couldn’t quite remember talking to him. I met a lot of people that night.

We got to talking about ourselves and he asked me where I was from.

Port Hope Simpson. It’s a tiny town in Labrador that I promise you haven’t heard of.” I was right about that. I always am.

He told me he was from Gander, but had spent some time in Stephenville. His mother was a judge and she got asked to go to Labrador but didn’t want to.

“Stephenville was bad enough, all those f—ing jackytars stealing everything and sniffing gas. Can you imagine what it would have been like in Labrador?”

I grew up in Labrador and I had no idea what he was talking about. I didn’t even know what a jackytar was and whatever he thought about whatever they were, I certainly didn’t. I had to get him to explain. “You know, Indians.”

I explained to him that I was an Aboriginal person and I found what he was saying to be really offensive. He just looked confused.

“Come on. You can’t be thaaaat Aboriginal, look at you.”…

Read the entire article here.

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How race shapes personal relationships in Canada

Posted in Canada, Census/Demographics, Family/Parenting, Media Archive, Videos on 2019-05-28 01:01Z by Steven

How race shapes personal relationships in Canada

Globalnews.ca
2019-05-23

According to Statistics Canada’s 2011 National Household Survey, less than five per cent of marriages in Canada are between interracial couples. An Ipsos poll conducted on behalf of Global News found 15 per cent of Canadians would never consider marrying someone of a different ethnicity. Mike Drolet looks at attitudes towards mixed-race relationships in Canada.

Watch the story here.

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Three Things the Jewish Community Can Do Better, According to a Mixed-Race Jewish Professional

Posted in Articles, Canada, Interviews, Judaism, Media Archive, Passing, Religion on 2019-05-24 20:42Z by Steven

Three Things the Jewish Community Can Do Better, According to a Mixed-Race Jewish Professional

My Jewish Learning
2018-05-23

Ruth Abusch-Magder, Education Director and Rabbi-in-Residence
Be’chol Lashon


Tema Smith

Tema Smith’s own experiences as a mixed race person shape her vision as a Jewish professional.

Tema Smith is often mistaken for white, but this mixed-race Jew is proud of both her Bahamian and Ashkenazi roots. She is also one of a growing number of Jews of color who are making careers in the Jewish world. We met up with Smith to learn about her professional life and personal experience and to hear what advice she has for Jewish institutions.

Be’chol Lashon: Tell us about your job.

Smith: I am the Director of Community Engagement at Holy Blossom Temple in Toronto, Canada’s largest Reform congregation. Not only do I ensure that the basics of synagogue life, like becoming a member and connecting with the community, are smooth, but it is also my responsibility to keep the door wide open for prospective members. It also includes creating partnerships in the community and making connections more broadly…

…Be’chol Lashon: Does being mixed-race play into the work you do at Holy Blossom?

Smith: Being mixed-race has always given me a broader perspective on the work I do. I came into this work as someone who had only been an observer, and not as someone who grew up in the Jewish community, which has made me attuned to the experiences of those who are new to the community. As I mentioned before, the fact that we were not part of Toronto’s Jewish community had a lot to do with our family’s racial makeup. This makes me especially aware of the barriers to participation that people face and pushes me to work harder on inclusion, which is what we need to do to ensure the Jewish future as the demographics shift and we become more multicultural and multiracial. I find that my position as both an insider and outsider to Jewish life lets people open up to me. I am upfront about my identity, coming from both an interfaith and an interracial family. Because of that, I’ve noticed that it is not uncommon for people to share information about their lives that they are not sure the synagogue would welcome knowing, like their own faith journey or lack of observance.

Additionally, because I pass as a white Jew, I am able to walk into communal spaces and challenge some of the assumptions of who the Jewish community insiders are. My very existence often breaks down stereotypes of who we imagine to be a committed or engaged Jew…

Read the entire interview here.

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