‘When I Was White’: At 27, Sarah Valentine found out her biological father was black. A chat about her new memoir.

Posted in Articles, Autobiography, Family/Parenting, Media Archive, Passing, United States on 2019-11-11 21:27Z by Steven

‘When I Was White’: At 27, Sarah Valentine found out her biological father was black. A chat about her new memoir.

The Chicago Tribune
2019-10-29

Alexis Burling, Writer. Book Critic. Editor.

Sarah Valentine, author of "When I Was White," was unaware until she was 27 that her biological father was African American. She discusses how this affected her life.
Sarah Valentine, author of “When I Was White,” was unaware until she was 27 that her biological father was African American. She discusses how this affected her life. (Marcello Rostagni / HANDOUT)

When Sarah Valentine was growing up in the mostly white, middle-class suburbs of Pittsburgh during the 1980s, she assumed her experience was just like that of her peers. She embraced the traditions of her Irish and Italian heritage, did well in sports and school, and hung out with her white friends at the mall. “I didn’t know much about race,” she writes of a childhood friendship with a girl who looked like her, “but I knew it existed; I thought some people were black, but most people were normal.”

But as Valentine came of age and became more conscious of her place in the world, something seemed a little off. For one, her skin was a darker shade than that of her family members. Her classmates called her “Slash,” the nickname of the mixed-race Guns N’ Roses guitarist. Her high school guidance counselor suggested she consider minority scholarships when applying for college.

Finally, when she was 27, after years of grappling with deep-rooted insecurities about feeling like an “other,” Valentine confronted her mother about her suspicions. What she found out was disturbing. According to her mother, Valentine was the product of a rape by an unknown black man. The revelation, she writes, meant that her entire upbringing had been “an insidious lie.”…

Q: In the United States, we’re still learning how to talk about identities that fall outside of our traditional understandings of race. In your memoir, “When I Was White,” you describe yourself as mixed-race African American. Why that, specifically?

A: For me, mixed-race experience is part of black experience in this country. Race is often seen as binary, but mixed-race people fall between categories and can encompass multiple identities. Growing up, my family denied my being black and mixed race, so it’s important for me to reclaim those identities…

Read the entire interview here.

Tags: ,

Halfbreed

Posted in Autobiography, Books, Canada, Media Archive, Monographs, Native Americans/First Nation, Women on 2019-11-10 03:41Z 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.

Tags: , ,

Meaning, Without the White Gaze

Posted in Articles, Autobiography, Media Archive, United States on 2019-11-10 02:31Z by Steven

Meaning, Without the White Gaze

The Atlantic
2019-08-07

Rebecca Carroll, Host
WNYC Radio, New York, New York


Kate Martin / The Atlantic

I’m writing my memoir for the late, great Toni Morrison.

I had been writing it for her. For her, and for Pecola Breedlove. Perhaps too ambitious or presumptuous or high-minded, I had, until the announcement of her death this week, been writing my memoir, Surviving the White Gaze, for Toni Morrison and Pecola Breedlove. Because I survived the white gaze for Pecola, and Morrison taught me how.

I knew Pecola first. I lived inside her skin, her ache; felt sickened, ashamed, and unseen by that baby doll’s dead blue eyes on one of the book’s early covers. Page after page of The Bluest Eye, I felt Pecola’s mind curl into anguish and succumb to a delusion better than reality. Pecola lost her mind because she wanted the blue eyes set inside the ceaseless standard of white beauty—a gaze so narcotic that it ravaged her body from flesh to bone—and I almost did, too.

I say that I knew Pecola first because Morrison’s writing of her was so thorough and fully realized that in my initial reading of The Bluest Eye, the character loomed larger than the author. This is what will happen to me, I remember thinking. If I keep internalizing the white gaze and contorting my own reflection in response to it, I will spiral into madness and still be seen as ugly

Read the entire article here.

Tags: , , ,

Call for Submissions VOLUME 2

Posted in Arts, Autobiography, Canada, Caribbean/Latin America, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, United States, Wanted/Research Requests/Call for Papers, Women on 2019-11-10 02:03Z by Steven

Call for Submissions VOLUME 2

I Wonder As I Wonder
2019-09-16

Adebe DeRango-Adem

image2

Mixed-Race Women Speak Out (Again!)

Co-editors Adebe DeRango-Adem and Andrea Thompson are seeking submissions of writing and/or artwork for a follow-up anthology of work by and about mixed-race women, intended for publication by Inanna Publications in 2020-21.

Deadline for Submissions: JANUARY 15, 2020

The purpose of this anthology is to explore the question of how mixed-race women in North America identify in the 21st Century. The anthology will also serve as a place to learn about the social experiences, attitudes, and feelings of others, while investigating more general questions around what racial identity has come to mean today. We are inviting previously unpublished submissions that engage, document, and/or explore the experiences of being mixed-race…

…WHAT IS OTHER TONGUES?

The first edition of Other Tongues: Mixed Race Women Speak Out was born from a desire to see a new and refreshing literature that could be at the forefront of mixed-race discourse and women’s studies, while providing a space for the creative expression of mixed-race women. Through an inspirational and provocative mix of visual art, literature, orature, creative non-fiction and academic analysis, Other Tongues chronicled the changes in social attitudes towards race, mixed-race, gender and identity, and the each of the contributors’ particular reactions to those attitudes.

The diversity of each woman’s story demonstrated the breadth and depth of the lived reality of the mixed experience for women in North America at that particular moment in time. In this way, the book became a snapshot of the North American racial terrain in the afterglow of the inauguration of the first mixed-race/Black American President—a pivotal point in history that many mistakenly labeled the dawning of a “post-racial” age….

For more information, click here.

Tags: , , ,

The Life and Times of a Very British Man

Posted in Autobiography, Books, Media Archive, Monographs, United Kingdom on 2019-11-04 20:10Z by Steven

The Life and Times of a Very British Man

Bloomsbury
2019-05-02
352 pages
Integrated B&W photographs
198 x 129 mm
Paperback ISBN: 9781408889244

Kamal Ahmed, Editorial Director
BBC News, London

The Life and Times of a Very British Man

Kamal Ahmed’s childhood was very ‘British’ in every way – except for the fact that he was brown. Half English, half Sudanese, he was raised at a time when being mixed-race meant being told to go home, even when you were born just down the road.

Tags: ,

A powerful look into the invisible world of children and mothers who are rejected by their nations because of mixed lineage

Posted in Articles, Asian Diaspora, Autobiography, Biography, Book/Video Reviews, Family/Parenting, Media Archive, United States on 2019-10-31 19:41Z by Steven

A powerful look into the invisible world of children and mothers who are rejected by their nations because of mixed lineage

International Examiner
Seattle, Washington
2019-10-29

Midori Friedbauer

Fredrick D. Kakinami Cloyd makes a powerful debut with Dream of the Water Children, a book which transcends genres and enlightens readers with ethereal beauty and judicious use of research in a memoir which recounts his relationship with his family.

Kakinami Cloyd is the child of a Japanese war bride and an African American soldier, and in his book, he offers readers a glimpse into the invisible world of the children and mothers rejected by their nations because of their mixed lineage.

One of the many legacies of World War II are the children of unions between occupiers and the occupied, and all too often these children have been forgotten. Kakinami Cloyd has gifted the world with the knowledge he gathered through survival. He has also uncovered the circumstances of mixed-race children who did not survive the U.S. occupation of Japan; including children who were killed by their own mothers…

Read the entire review here.

Tags: , , , ,

My Asian Mom bought me a Blonde Wig.

Posted in Articles, Asian Diaspora, Autobiography, Family/Parenting, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, United States on 2019-10-26 23:07Z by Steven

My Asian Mom bought me a Blonde Wig.

Medium
2019-10-25

Kate Rigg


Yeah I wore it ONE TIME. To Wigstock at the end of high school. Doesn’t count.

And Other Adventures in Internalized Racism

“It will make you feel like success! You can be anyone you want in America. So why not have blonde hair and blue eyes?”

My mom’s big idea was that I should go to my first day of high school wearing a blonde wig and blue eye contacts.

“Why not? It will be a change! Fantastic! I will buy them for you! we can get matching it will be fun!”

So many exclamation points! So much fun! Gesturing at me with a People magazine with Pam Anderson on the cover! I was fourteen; and even then I knew that this situation was no fun. Not for me. And deep down, I bet, not for her.

I tried to verbally tap dance out of it. “I don’t have time for all that. I have to get school supplies and clean my room. Ok see you later byeeee.” Tried to lie my way out of it. “Oh yeah, sure I would totally do that, but I want to pay for it myself so it really feels like me.” Tried out reverse psychology out of it “People should like me for who I really am. Isn’t that what you taught me?”

The one thing I didn’t do was flat out say “No.”…

Read the entire article here.

Tags: ,

Hazel Carby: Where Are You From?

Posted in Autobiography, Caribbean/Latin America, History, Media Archive, United Kingdom, Videos on 2019-10-22 01:31Z by Steven

Hazel Carby: Where Are You From?

Duke Franklin Humanities Institute
2018-11-05

An account of how a young black girl, growing up in South London, had to learn to negotiate the racial fictions of post World War Two Britain, drawn from Dr. Carby’s forthcoming book, “Imperial Intimacies” (Verso 2019).

Hazel Carby is Charles C. & Dorothea S. Dilley Professor of African American Studies & American Studies and the Director of the Initiative on Race, Gender, and Globalization at Yale University. Born in postwar UK, trained at the University of Birmingham under Stuart Hall’s mentorship, she is a foundational scholar of US black feminist intellectual history. Her books include Reconstructing Womanhood (1987), Race Men (1998), and Cultures in Babylon (1999). She was named the 2014 recipient of the Jay B. Hubbell Medal for Lifetime Achievement in American Literary Studies.

Co-directed by Richard Powell, Jasmine Nichole Cobb, and Lamonte Aidoo, the From Slavery to Freedom Lab examines the life and afterlives of slavery and emancipation, linking Duke University to the Global South.

Watch the address here.

Tags: , , ,

The Color of Love: A Story of a Mixed-Race Jewish Girl

Posted in Autobiography, Books, Forthcoming Media, Judaism, Monographs, Religion, United States on 2019-10-16 02:10Z by Steven

The Color of Love: A Story of a Mixed-Race Jewish Girl

Agate Bolden (an imprint of Agate Publishing)
2019-11-12
256 pages
5.25 x 0.5 x 8 inches
Paperback ISBN-13: 9781572842755

Marra B. Gad, Inde­pen­dent Film and Tele­vi­sion Producer
Los Angeles, California

9781572842755.jpg

An unforgettable memoir about a mixed-race Jewish woman who, after fifteen years of estrangement from her racist great-aunt, helps bring her home when Alzheimer’s strikes

In 1970, three-day-old Marra B. Gad was adopted by a white Jewish family in Chicago. For her parents, it was love at first sight—but they quickly realized the world wasn’t ready for a family like theirs.

Marra’s biological mother was unwed, white, and Jewish, and her biological father was black. While still a child, Marra came to realize that she was “a mixed-race, Jewish unicorn.” In black spaces, she was not “black enough” or told that it was OK to be Christian or Muslim, but not Jewish. In Jewish spaces, she was mistaken for the help, asked to leave, or worse. Even in her own extended family, racism bubbled to the surface.

Marra’s family cut out those relatives who could not tolerate the color of her skin—including her once beloved, glamorous, worldly Great-Aunt Nette. After they had been estranged for fifteen years, Marra discovers that Nette has Alzheimer’s, and that only she is in a position to get Nette back to the only family she has left. Instead of revenge, Marra chooses love, and watches as the disease erases her aunt’s racism, making space for a relationship that was never possible before.

The Color of Love explores the idea of yerusha, which means “inheritance” in Yiddish. At turns heart-wrenching and heartwarming, this is a story about what you inherit from your family—identity, disease, melanin, hate, and most powerful of all, love. With honesty, insight, and warmth, Marra B. Gad has written an inspirational, moving chronicle proving that when all else is stripped away, love is where we return, and love is always our greatest inheritance.

Tags: , , , ,

Can Americans Unlearn Race?

Posted in Articles, Autobiography, Book/Video Reviews, Europe, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, Philosophy, United States on 2019-10-16 01:51Z by Steven

Can Americans Unlearn Race?

American Interest
2019-10-15

Morten Høi Jensen


“Willie and Holcha” by William H. Johnson (Wikimedia Commons)

In his lucid new memoir, Thomas Chatterton Williams channels Albert Camus and James Baldwin—and offers a thoughtful counterpoint to the tired racial dogmas of both Right and Left.

Reflecting on why he decided to leave America for Europe, James Baldwin once explained that he wanted to “find out in what way the specialness of my experience could be made to connect me with other people instead of dividing me from them.” The racism of American society in the late 1940s prohibited him from doing so at home, where he was always “merely a Negro.” Only by going abroad could he find the freedom to really ask himself what it meant to be black, to be American, to be African-American. By encountering people so different from himself, Baldwin wrote, he felt at last “a shattering in me of preconceptions I scarcely knew I held.” The constraints of American notions of race and identity were loosened by the existence of entirely different notions. “The time has come,” Baldwin decided, “for us to examine ourselves, but we can only do this if we are willing to free ourselves of the myth of America and try to find out what is really happening here.”

The American writer Thomas Chatterton Williams has followed in the footsteps of Baldwin’s Parisian emigration. Raised in suburban New Jersey by a white mother and black father, Williams grew up thinking of himself not as half-white or of mixed race but as “black, period.” In his literary debut, Losing My Cool (2010), he recounted an adolescence suffused with hip-hop culture and received ideas about a particular kind of black identity. In high school, in the mid-to-late 1990s, Williams strode the hallways with a sweatshop’s worth of flashy apparel, paid homage to the gods of BET, and lived by the dubious moral code of the Big Tymers and Master P. At the local basketball court, he was awestruck by a player known as RaShawn, who sipped Olde English before games, kept in his pocket a knot of bills “as thick and layered as a Spanish onion,” and often resorted to viciously beating up his opponents. “He was like a star to me,” Williams admitted…

Read the entire review here.

Tags: , , , , ,