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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Halfbreed

Posted in Autobiography, Books, Canada, Forthcoming Media, Monographs, Native Americans/First Nation, Women on 2019-07-05 01:04Z 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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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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We Can’t Screw Ourselves Out of Racism

Posted in Articles, Canada, Gay & Lesbian, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, Social Justice on 2019-04-19 21:27Z by Steven

We Can’t Screw Ourselves Out of Racism

Medium
2019-03-28

Daniella Barreto, Digital Activism Coordinator
Amnesty International
Toronto, Ontario, Canada


Illustration by Maia Boakye (@/ghostyboi)

Multiracial kids won’t end racism. Stop acting like we can.

In case you’ve been living under a six-ton boulder for the last five years, featuring mixed-race couples is the hot new thing in advertising. It’s edgy! It’s progressive! It’s absolutely adorable! Best of all, it is accessible to anyone who’s willing to test out their new Diversity Strategy™ and choose to see the backlash as free PR: banks, clothing brands, jewellers, mattresses, cereals, you name it. We haven’t stopped at plain old mixed race heteros, lord no. Ever heard of representation? Give me mixed race gays. Add some kids! (Just don’t get into that queer or trans business much because there’s not a lot of expendable cash in that.) Diversity’s the in-thing! The opportunities are endless.

Our obsession with diversity reveals far more about us than we think. And serves as a convenient distraction to avoid doing any real equity work.

Mixed race relationships are not inherently progressive, radical, or even healthy. That includes queer ones. The mainstream gawks at multiracial people and mixed-race relationships, turning us into superheroes or weirdos, statistical outliers divorced from the historical impacts of colonization and anti-Black racism — particularly in a Canada so smitten with itself that it has started to believe its own lies about multiculturalism.

It is a gross misunderstanding and a cruel oversimplification of the magnitude and insidiousness of white supremacy (and basic genetics) to think that if we all just fuck each other more or have mixed babies that we will get along better, turn the same shade of beige, and lo, racism will vanish…

Read the entire article here.

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Sorry Music Journalists, Drake is Black.

Posted in Articles, Arts, Canada, Communications/Media Studies, Judaism, Media Archive, Religion on 2019-03-15 17:58Z by Steven

Sorry Music Journalists, Drake is Black.

Canadaland
2015-04-30

Kyrell Grant

Drake, born Aubrey Graham in a city where almost one in ten people are black, is black. Toronto’s greatest civic triumphalist since Jane Jacobs is black. And yet Drake’s own identity – his nationality, his mixed race background that includes Jewish heritage and upbringing, the neighbourhood he once lived in, the schools he went to – is often taken to mean that his black experience is somehow inauthentic.

It feels ridiculous to have to say this: Drake is black.

Drake, born Aubrey Graham in a city where almost one in ten people are black, is black. Toronto’s greatest civic triumphalist since Jane Jacobs is black.

He is a black man as much as any other black man. And yet Drake’s own identity – his nationality, his mixed race background that includes Jewish heritage and upbringing, the neighbourhood he once lived in, the schools he went to – is often taken to mean that his black experience is somehow inauthentic. While certainly not the first artist to have this kind of analysis imposed on him, Drake’s profile means that his art in particular has been prominently used to deny his black experience when it doesn’t conform to someone else’s narrow vision of race…

Read the entire article here.

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I’m black, therefore my kids are, right?

Posted in Articles, Canada, Family/Parenting, Media Archive on 2019-02-20 23:32Z by Steven

I’m black, therefore my kids are, right?

Today’s Parent
2019-01-31

Alicia Cox Thomson


Photo: Christine Kufske, www.clickphotography.ca

Alicia Cox Thomson was raised to embrace both her Bajan and Polish cultures, and feels it’s crucial that her own kids embrace their blackness.

My daughter and I were in the produce section when it happened.

“What a beautiful baby!” Pause. Eyes flick up. “Is she yours?” My jaw clenched. I felt awkward, angry and, weirdly, embarrassed. I was so floored that all I could say was, “Yes. Thank you,” with a smile that didn’t reach my eyes.

My daughter and I do not look alike at first glance, so I guess it’s a fair, albeit rude and intrusive, question. I’m mixed race* (black dad, white mom), with curly dark hair and brown eyes and skin. My husband, Mike, is a blue-eyed white man. Simone, 22 months, is fair-skinned with blue-grey eyes and straight hair, while our son, Theo, 4, is darker-skinned with big brown eyes and curly hair. Neither of my kids look black, and I do. I know this. But I never considered the optics until that day in the grocery store—which, considering how I grew up, was perhaps naïve…

Read the entire article here.

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Charla Huber: Every Indigenous person is Indigenous enough

Posted in Articles, Canada, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, Native Americans/First Nation on 2018-12-31 03:27Z by Steven

Charla Huber: Every Indigenous person is Indigenous enough

The Times Colonist
Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
2018-12-30

Charla Huber, Communications and Indigenous Relations
M’akola Group of Societies

New_dx-1230-ho ho huber.jpg
Devan Cronshaw, left, Riley McKenzie and Alita Tocher are all urban Indigenous people in the capital region.
Photograph By Charla Huber, Times Colonist

So often, we hear the words reconciliation and decolonization, and lately I have been wondering if people really understand their meanings. The more I read, learn and listen, the more important these words become to me.

I am a product of the Sixties Scoop and was adopted and raised by a non-Indigenous family. Being adopted and having no knowledge of or connection to my birth family growing up, I really held onto being Indigenous. It was the only thing that I ever knew about myself for sure.

Because I wasn’t raised in Indigenous culture, I have often wondered if I am Indigenous enough. This is especially heightened because I am half. I am very open about my heritage and my adoption, but I do struggle saying: “My family is from Fort Chipewyan and I have Inuit roots.” I’ve never set foot on my ancestors’ traditional territory…

Read the entire article here.

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Peace Weavers: Uniting the Salish Coast through Cross-Cultural Marriages

Posted in Autobiography, Biography, Books, Canada, History, Media Archive, Monographs, Native Americans/First Nation, Women on 2018-11-18 22:59Z by Steven

Peace Weavers: Uniting the Salish Coast through Cross-Cultural Marriages

Washington State University Press
2017
290 pages
Illustrations / maps / notes / bibliography / index
Paperback ISBN: 978-0-87422-346-0

Candace Wellman

Peace-weaving marriages between Salish families and pioneer men played a crucial role in mid-1800s regional settlement. Author Candace Wellman illuminates this hidden history and shatters stereotypes surrounding these relationships. The four exceptional women she profiles left a lasting legacy in their Puget Sound communities.

Strategic cross-cultural marriages between Coast and Interior Salish families and pioneer men played a crucial role in mid-1800s regional settlement and spared Puget Sound’s upper corner from tragic conflicts. Accounts of the husbands exist in a variety of records, but the native wives’ contributions remained unacknowledged. Combining primary and secondary sources, genealogy, and family memories, author Candace Wellman illuminates this hidden history and shatters stereotypes surrounding these relationships. The four women she profiles exhibited exceptional endurance, strength, and adaptability. They ran successful farms and businesses and acted as cultural interpreters and mediators. Although each story is unique, collectively they and other intermarried individuals helped found Puget Sound communities and left a lasting legacy. They were peace weavers.

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