Call for Essays: Shades of Prejudice: Asian American Women on Colorism in America from NYU Press, Edited by Nikki Khanna (Forthcoming 2018)

Posted in Asian Diaspora, Autobiography, Forthcoming Media, United States, Wanted/Research Requests/Call for Papers, Women on 2017-10-17 02:34Z by Steven

Call for Essays: Shades of Prejudice: Asian American Women on Colorism in America from NYU Press, Edited by Nikki Khanna (Forthcoming 2018)

Nikki Khanna, Associate Professor of Sociology
University of Vermont
Department of Sociology
31 South Prospect Street
Burlington, Vermont 05405
Telephone: (802) 656-2162

2017-07-06

DEADLINE: Manuscripts will be accepted on a rolling basis, though the final deadline is OCTOBER 31, 2017.

I am pleased to announce an open submission call for my forthcoming anthology from New York University Press, SHADES OF PREJUDICE, a collection of essays written by Asian American women about their personal experiences with colorism.

Colorism is the practice of discrimination whereby light skin is privileged over dark, and is a global issue affecting racial groups worldwide. Colorism exists is just about every part of Asia and affects Asian diasporas, including most Asian American communities—including those descended from Southeast Asia (e.g., India, Pakistan, Cambodia, Singapore, Thailand, Philippines, Vietnam, and Indonesia), but also those from Japan, China, and other parts of Eastern Asia.

I am looking for Asian American women (including multiracial American women with Asian ancestry) to share their personal experiences with colorismhow has your skin shade (and other “racialized” physical features like eye color, eye shape, and other facial features) influenced your life?

SUBMISSION GUIDELINES:

  • Submissions should be sent to: nkhanna@uvm.edu (in the subject heading, please type in all-caps: SHADES OF PREJUDICE SUBMISSION)
  • Please send your personal narrative as a Microsoft® Word document and label your document: “LASTNAME_FIRSTNAME.doc.”
  • Essays should be approximately 1,000-2,500 words, double-spaced, and Times New Roman font.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Nikki Khanna is an associate professor of Sociology at the University of Vermont and has written extensively on issues regarding race. You can read more about the author here: www.nikkikhanna.com and http://www.uvm.edu/sociology/faculty/faculty_bios/Khanna/.

HERE ARE SOME IDEAS OF QUESTIONS THAT YOU MAY WANT TO ADDRESS:

  • What do you consider (physically) beautiful and why? Where does your image of beauty come from? (family, friends, media, or somewhere else?)
  • What is the importance of skin shade in your Asian ethnic community and how has this affected your life? For example, has it had an effect on dating or finding a mate? Has it influenced your interactions or relationships with family members or others? Has it affected any of your life opportunities? (job, education, etc.?).
  • How did you learn that light skin was preferred over dark skin in your Asian ethnic community? Can you provide specific examples?
  • Have you personally benefitted from having light skin? If so, how so? Is there a particular experience that you can share?
  • How have your family, community, peers, friends, media or others reinforced the stereotype that light skin is somehow more desirable than dark skin?
  • Have you felt pressure to use products designed to lighten or whiten your skin? If yes, why and what types of products? What has your experiences been with these products? How do you feel about whitening products?
  • Have you tried any other means to lighten or change the shade of your skin?
  • Have you felt pressure from your ethnic community or larger American society to conform to particular beauty standards? How so? Explain.
  • Have you struggled with, resisted, or actively challenged the “light is beautiful” message? How so?
  • Have other physical/facial characteristics (those that are often related to race) had an influence on your life (e.g., your eye color, eye shape, nose shape)?
  • Have you felt pressure to surgically alter any of your physical features to conform to a particular beauty standard in your Asian ethnic community or in larger American society (e.g., eyelid surgery)? Explain.
  • Do you think light skin is seen as desirable because some people desire to look/be white, because light skin is related to social class or caste, or to something else? Why? What in your personal life has informed the way you explain why light skin is considered more desirable than dark?
  • Do you think the impact of your skin color on your life is influenced by other factors – such as your gender, social class/caste, ethnic group, generation, or other factors? For example, do you think skin color more so affects women than men? Why or why not? Do you think that your experiences are similar or different to male family members or men in your Asian ethnic community? Do you think your generation (whether you are 1st, 2nd, 3rd or later generation Asian American) has influenced the importance of skin color in your life?
  • Did growing up in America challenge or reinforce the idea that light skin is better than dark? How so? Could you share a particular example? Relatedly, how have American beauty standards affected your vision of what is considered beautiful and how does this related to beauty standards in your ethnic community? Are those standards complementary or contradictory?

For more information, click here.

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We Wear the Mask: 15 Stories about Passing in America

Posted in Anthologies, Asian Diaspora, Autobiography, Books, Gay & Lesbian, History, Judaism, Latino Studies, Media Archive, Native Americans/First Nation, Passing, Religion on 2017-10-17 01:52Z by Steven

We Wear the Mask: 15 Stories about Passing in America

Beacon Press
2017-10-10
224 Pages
Paperback ISBN: 978-080707898-3
Ebook ISBN 978-080707899-0
Size: 5.5 x 8.5 Inches

Edited by:

Brando Skyhorse, Associate Professor of English
Indiana University, Bloomington

Lisa Page, Acting Director of Creative Writing
George Washington University, Washington, D.C.

Fifteen writers reveal their diverse experiences with passing, including racial, ethnic, sexual orientation, gender, and economic.

American history is filled with innumerable examples of “passing.” Why do people pass? The reasons are manifold: opportunity, access, safety, adventure, agency, fear, trauma, shame. Some pass to advance themselves or their loved ones to what they perceive is a better quality of life.

Edited by authors Brando Skyhorse and Lisa Page, We Wear the Mask is a groundbreaking anthology featuring fifteen essays—fourteen of them original—that examine passing in multifaceted ways. Skyhorse, a Mexican American, writes about how his mother passed him as an American Indian before he gradually learned and accepted who—and what—he really is. Page writes about her mother passing as a white woman without a black ex-husband or biracial children. The anthology also includes essays by Marc Fitten, whose grandfather, a Chinese Jamaican, wanted to hide his name and ethnicity and for his children to pass as “colored” in the Caribbean; Achy Obejas, a queer Jewish Cuban woman who discovers that in Hawaii she is considered white. There’s M. G. Lord, who passes for heterosexual after her lesbian lover is killed; Patrick Rosal, who, without meaning to, “passes” as a waiter at the National Book Awards ceremony; and Sergio Troncoso, a Latino man, who passes for white at an internship on Capitol Hill. These and other compelling essays reveal the complex reality of passing in America.

Other contributors include:

  • Teresa Wiltz, who portrays how she navigated racial ambiguity while growing up in Staten Island, NY
  • Trey Ellis, the author of “The New Black Aesthetic,” who recollects his diverse experiences with passing in school settings
  • Margo Jefferson, whose parents invite her uncle, a light-complexioned black man, to dinner after he stops passing as white
  • Dolen Perkins-Valdez, who explores how the glorification of the Confederacy in the United States is an act of “historical passing”
  • Gabrielle Bellot, who feels the disquieting truths of passing as a woman in the world after coming out as trans
  • Clarence Page, who interrogates the phenomenon of “economic passing” in the context of race
  • Susan Golomb, a Jewish woman who reflects on the dilemma of having an identity that is often invisible
  • Rafia Zakaria, a woman who hides her Muslim American identity as a strategy to avoid surveillance at the airport
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Ijeoma Oluo: ‘I am drowning in whiteness’

Posted in Articles, Audio, Autobiography, Family/Parenting, Media Archive, Social Justice, United States on 2017-10-07 20:47Z by Steven

Ijeoma Oluo: ‘I am drowning in whiteness’

KUOW Puget Sound Public Radio
Seattle, Washington
2017-10-01

Ijeoma Oluo


Seattle writer Ijeoma Oluo
KUOW Photo/Bond Huberman

Hi, I am Ijeoma Oluo, and I am a mixed race black woman who was raised by a white mother in this very white city.

I have a Ph.D. in whiteness, and I was raised in “Seattle nice.” I was steeped in the good intentions of this city and I hate it.

I love this city. I love you guys. Also, I hate it. I really do…

Read the entire article here. Listen to the story (00:10:24) here.

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Identity, racial acceptance explored in ​Waterloo region’s OBOC 2017 pick

Posted in Autobiography, Canada, Media Archive, Passing on 2017-09-29 03:31Z by Steven

Identity, racial acceptance explored in ​Waterloo region’s OBOC 2017 pick

CBC News
2017-09-27


Veteran author Wayne Grady is best known for his compelling writing on science, nature and natural history. Now, his first foray in to fiction, Emancipation Day, has become the One Book One Community selection for Waterloo region for 2017. (Don Denton)

Emancipation Day based on story of Grady’s father who kept black heritage secret for 50 years

Author Wayne Grady spent the first 50 years of his life thinking he was white.

It wasn’t until he began digging through the archives in Windsor, Ont., that he discovered the truth about his father’s heritage. His great-grandfather wasn’t Irish. He was African-American.

“I felt like the rug had been pulled out from under my feet,” Grady told The Morning Edition host Craig Norris.

Working through that revelation is what inspired his first foray into fiction, Emancipation Day; the One Book One Community pick for Waterloo region for 2017.

“That’s kind of why I started working on the novel, to figure out – for myself – how it changed me or how it affected me. And I eventually realized it didn’t really change me at all. I’m still the same person I was before,” he said.

“I think I’ve pretty much decided that it doesn’t mean anything, except what society says it means.”…

Read the entire article here

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The Problem With Football Is Not Colin Kaepernick

Posted in Articles, Autobiography, Media Archive, United States on 2017-09-29 02:35Z by Steven

The Problem With Football Is Not Colin Kaepernick

Shondaland
2017-09-28

Fanshen Cox DiGiovanni


Getty

I was the only girl on my high school’s football team — but I can no longer support the sport.

I was the only girl on my high school’s tackle football team.

I grew up watching my father clap his hands loudly, and yell at the TV during NFL games. I remember sometimes falling asleep to that sweet sound. He knew very little about football when he immigrated to the U.S. from Jamaica in the 1950s for college. He and his roomates were some of the only black people on campus, and they were also on the university’s football team. This is how my dad both learned the joys of black American culture, and developed his deep love of American football.

Eventually he ended up in Washington, D.C., where I was born. My white mom got full custody of my brother and me after our parents’ divorce when we were still young, so I grew up desperate to find ways to connect with my dad. I would try to speak Patois — though he had lost his accent since college to avoid being constantly “otherized.” I would try and learn factoids about the countries he visited in eastern Africa while searching for his roots and for a place with no racial or class oppression. But the single biggest gesture I made to try and gain my father’s love — was to learn to love football…

Read the entire article here.

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Notes on a Lifetime of Passing

Posted in Articles, Autobiography, Media Archive, Passing on 2017-09-27 04:20Z by Steven

Notes on a Lifetime of Passing

The New Yorker
2017-09-22

Trey Ellis, Associate Professor
Graduate School of the Arts
Columbia University, New York, New York


How do we remember how we crafted ourselves to an audience the last time we met? Luckily, I’ve had years of practice.
Photograph by Universal History Archive / UIG via Getty

Thanks to my parents transplanting me often from one ethnic mix to another, I’ve become something of a code-switching connoisseur.

I share the head of the table in the conference room in Columbia’s Faculty House with a distinguished professor from the University of Southern California. We are the featured guests for the latest Columbia University Seminar, a prestigious academic lecture series that has been running continuously since 1945. I am the invited “respondent/discussant” for the presentation of the Dartmouth professor Mark Williams’s paper “Passing for History: Humor and Early Television Historiography.” All the serious, eminent professors and doctoral candidates lining each side of the table nod and take notes when Williams references visual and televisual “indexicality.”

As soon as he finishes, we clap, and immediately the array of eyes home in on my own. Outwardly, I spend a lot of time thanking everyone who can possibly be thanked. Inwardly, I obsess about my lowly and decades-old B.A., my ignorance of the word “indexicality,” and how one of the assembled Illuminati at any moment, surely, in the middle of my talk, will burst to his feet and shout, like Congressman Joe Wilson at Barack Obama’s 2009 State of the Union address, “You lie!

See, I’m not a real professor, but I play one in arts school.

I was invited to respond that night because I’d written a screenplay about the period discussed, and because, thirty years earlier, soon after graduating college, I had written an essay called “The New Black Aesthetic,” which over the years has allowed me a back-door entrance into proper academic conferences such as this one. My actual job, teaching screenwriting as an associate professor of professional practice in the School of the Arts at Columbia University, is technically academic, but really arts-academic, which is to say academic-adjacent. Nevertheless, as I enter my tenth year of passing for a real professor, I find myself less and less inclined to correct those who mistakenly call me one.

You see, passing is like that. The real Harvard Business School professor and TED Talk rock star Amy Cuddy’s advice to “fake it till you become it” is a corollary to long-term passing. Or, as the veteran screenwriter William Goldman phrased it in the title of his second acidic Hollywood memoir, “Which Lie Did I Tell?”..

…So, at that Columbia seminar, despite my terror of being outed, the subject of the discussion was delicious to me. Thanks to Professor Williams’s work and exhaustive research by the rock critic R. J. Smith, I learned about Korla Pandit, a.k.a. Cactus Pandi, a.k.a. Juan Rolando, a.k.a. John Roland Redd. Pandit was a kitsch fixture of Los Angeles television in the nineteen-fifties, a mesmerizing, bejewelled-turbaned Indian swami in a sharp Western suit. For fifteen minutes every evening, first locally and then nationally, he wordlessly seduced the camera, swaying and staring, almost as unblinking as the lens, while effortlessly noodling on his Hammond organ or a piano, no sheet music, never looking down, as fluid Orientalist melodies undulated from the keyboards as if Pandit were about to conjure endless ranks of grinning, dancing cobras.

Housewives swooned before his image: exotically light-brown, crowned in his tight bejewelled turban, never, ever speaking. The ultimate mystery man, from 1948 to 1953 Pandit was becoming fabulously famous. Then, after a contract dispute with his syndicator, he was replaced by another keyboard player who went on to use the very same sets, only this guy was always smiling instead of cool and smoky, in a white tie and tails, a lit candelabra reflected in the black gloss of the grand piano’s lid. Pandit resented Liberace for the rest of his life.

Both of them were passing. Liberace as straight when he was gay, Korla as an Indian when he was a black St. Louisan, born John Roland Redd. Redd had moved to Hollywood in the nineteen-thirties, and, like all black musicians, had to scrounge for gigs, since he was barred from the union. He then simply changed his name to Juan Rolando and started playing all over town. A few years later, his identity crossed the South Pacific to become Korla Pandit, a New Delhi-born musical prodigy, classically trained at the University of Chicago. The prodigy part was true: he was a brilliant and sought-after pianist for radio and high-profile Hollywood gigs. In the nineteen-forties, he and his white, blond wife (they married in Tijuana, where interracial marriages were legal) regularly partied with Errol Flynn and Bob Hope

Read the entire essay here.

This essay appears in the forthcoming collection of essays “We Wear the Mask.”

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Shedding my whiteness is a work in progress

Posted in Articles, Autobiography, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, United Kingdom on 2017-09-17 02:58Z by Steven

Shedding my whiteness is a work in progress

The Guardian
2017-09-16

Georgina Lawton


Georgina Lawton … ‘In my family, whiteness has been assumed as default.’ Photograph: Alicia Canter for the Guardian

A white identity was constructed for me 25 years ago and unravelling it feels like a Sisyphean task

My black side and my Irish side compete for recognition within me, like two separate flames of a fire, dancing around each other, fighting to shine the brightest. Take the other night in London; I was out for a drink with a friend from school when we heard the melody of Irish accents from a group of guys close by, and chimed in to chat. Later, a British-African guy overheard part of the exchange and bemusedly declared that “the Irish men love black women!” Looking decidedly sheepish, the Irish lads asserted that I was Irish, to which the black guy replied, “No – she’s black.” I pretended not to hear and went to the toilet, leaving the projected shadows of who I am and who others think I am, dancing on the walls behind me.

Outside my immediate family, my blackness has been obvious and non-negotiable, but among some of my Irish family, it is up for debate or ignored entirely. A white identity was constructed for me 25 years ago and now unravelling this construct – and asking some of my Irish family to unravel it with me – feels like a Sisyphean task. Shedding my own psychology of whiteness is a work in progress, but when I am back in Ireland it’s easy to revert to default because that’s all we know…

Read the entire article here.

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Constantly proving my blackness is exhausting

Posted in Articles, Autobiography, Canada, Media Archive on 2017-09-08 19:13Z by Steven

Constantly proving my blackness is exhausting

The Globe and Mail
2017-09-05

Chelene Knight


Chelene Knight

Chelene Knight is working on her third book, a novel about a friendship between two black women who grew up in Vancouver (Hogan’s Alley) in the 1930s and ’40s.

“But you don’t look that black.”

I remember walking into an event where I was asked to be a guest reader by a woman who had “heard about my book.” We had never met, I was unfamiliar with the other readers, never heard of the venue, but was still interested in expanding my literary horizons.

This is what emerging writers need to do, right? I introduced myself to her and she stared back at me for a good 15 seconds before furrowing her brow and saying “But you don’t look that black.”

I was left feeling “less than” and not worthy of being part of the event because I didn’t fit the mould of what black should be. I didn’t meet the expectations of the diversity hashtag.

My mother is an American-born black woman. My father is an East Indian-Ugandan who was kicked out of his country for not being black. Now, I am left to question my own blackness in a room full of white people with all eyes on me. I fumbled through my reading without ever looking up from my book…

Read then entire article here.

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Jesmyn Ward, Heir to Faulkner, Probes the Specter of Race In the South

Posted in Articles, Autobiography, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, Mississippi, United States on 2017-09-05 00:05Z by Steven

Jesmyn Ward, Heir to Faulkner, Probes the Specter of Race In the South

TIME
2017-08-24

Sarah Begley, staff writer


Ward, who teaches creative writing at Tulane, set her new novel in a coastal Mississippi town Beowulf Sheehan

“To understand the world, you must first understand a place like Mississippi” goes a line often attributed to William Faulkner. More than half a century later, Jesmyn Ward may be the newest bard of global wisdom.

The writer rocketed to literary fame in 2011 when she won the National Book Award for her second novel, Salvage the Bones, a lyrical Hurricane Katrina tale. As in her first novel, Where the Line Bleeds, the characters in Salvage live in the fictional Mississippi Gulf Coast hamlet of Bois Sauvage, which is based on Ward’s native DeLisle. Six years and two nonfiction books later, Ward has returned to fiction, and to Bois Sauvage, with Sing, Unburied, Sing, a mystical story about race, family and the long shadow of history.

Ward, 40, wrote her first two novels while moving around the country for writing programs and fellowships, but she has since returned home and started a family. Sing, Unburied, Sing is the first novel she’s written from there and the first she’s written as a mother. “The figurative language that I use is so informed by this place and by the things that I see and experience here,” she says, “that it helped me write Sing, because I’m able to observe and see these things and incorporate them into my writing.” Consider how nature relates to human behavior in this description of a grandfather on a difficult morning: “He matched the sky, which hung low, a silver colander full to leak.” Or when a mother watches her daughter cling to her son: “She sticks to him, sure as a burr: her arms and legs thorny and cleaving.”…

…Ward’s characters are informed of her own deep knowledge of a town like Bois Sauvage. For Sing, Ward asked herself what life would be like for a mixed-race boy like Jojo in contemporary Mississippi, a place where schools are still struggling with segregation and interracial dating has been a historic taboo. “I wanted to understand how he would navigate something of a coming of age in the modern South, where, yes, it is modern, but there are multiple waves of the past here,” she says…

Read the entire article here.

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Living on the borderline: how I embraced my mixed-race status after years of denial

Posted in Articles, Autobiography, Media Archive, United Kingdom on 2017-08-26 18:38Z by Steven

Living on the borderline: how I embraced my mixed-race status after years of denial

The Guardian
2017-08-26

Georgina Lawton


Solomon Glave as Heathcliff in Andrea Arnold’s 2011 adaptation of Wuthering Heights Photograph: Artificial Eye

I still have yet to uncover the full truth behind my heritage, but now feel that living in a racial no man’s land can actually be fun

Wuthering Heights has been one of my favourite books since I studied it for A-level seven years ago. I was fascinated by the tumultuous (and oddly asexual) relationship between Cathy and Heathcliff, but mostly with the theme of liminality that runs through the book, and many other works of gothic literature. Liminality refers to something – or someone – that sits on the boundary between two things; it’s a middle ground between polar opposites. Kind of like being mixed race.

I didn’t realise it at the time, but I identified with Heathcliff (he’s a dark-skinned Gypsy anti-hero) because I have been straddling the borders of race liminality my whole life. Growing up brown-skinned in a white family and facing questions as to why that was, I have had to navigate many different racial identities depending on who I was with, never quite owning one…

Read the entire article here.

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