Visual Pleasure and Racial Ambiguity

Posted in Arts, Autobiography, Dissertations, Media Archive, United States on 2019-06-03 17:16Z by Steven

Visual Pleasure and Racial Ambiguity

University of New Orleans
August 2018
54 pages

Ruth M. Owens MD

Submitted to the Graduate Faculty of the University of New Orleans In partial fulfillment of the Requirements for the degree of Master of Fine Arts in Fine Arts

I struggle to present work that reflects a psychological expressivity which at the same time conveys intellectual concepts that are of concern to me. It seems that the fluidity of an image can communicate a certain pathos, and correspond to the fluid nature of one’s identity. Drippy paint, distorted bodies, and vertiginous video clips can give an indication about what a body feels like from within. Depictions of these bodily feelings help to communicate ideas about what it means to be alive in general, and a mixed race woman, in particular.

Read the entire thesis here.

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Tia Mowry Talks Adjusting To The Racism She Experiences With Her Black Husband Vs Growing Up With A White Father

Posted in Articles, Arts, Autobiography, Family/Parenting, Media Archive, United States, Videos on 2019-06-03 14:35Z by Steven

Tia Mowry Talks Adjusting To The Racism She Experiences With Her Black Husband Vs Growing Up With A White Father

MadameNoire
2019-05-31

Veronica Wells, Culture Editor

I don’t think it’s any secret that Tia Mowry (and Tamera) are biracial. While it was a minute before we saw their parents, their mother, Darlene Mowry, is Black and their father, Timothy Mowry, is White. You might imagine that growing up in that household was a bit different than living in the household she does now. And it is. On her YouTube channel, Tia Mowry’s Quick Fix, she shared the racism her parents experienced when they were initially dating, the racism her mother experienced that her father didn’t, and how it’s different having a White father vs. a Black husband in terms of racial treatment.

See what Tia had to say about all of this below…

Read the entire article here.

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Culture, Identity, And Erasure

Posted in Articles, Autobiography, Europe, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive on 2019-06-01 21:58Z by Steven

Culture, Identity, And Erasure

The Odyssey Online
2015-11-17

Lina Chaoui, Contributing Writer
Île-de-France, France

Do not put me in a box you are more comfortable with.

An open letter to anyone who has ever tried to define me by appearances. To those who are of a mixed background and have had their identities ruled by others. If you break it down, I am 1/4 swiss, 1/4 Irish, 1/4 Moroccan, 1/8 Italian and 1/8 Lithuanian. I don’t really claim my Italian or Lithuanian side because it is relatively minuscule and the culture was never prevalent in my life.

I was born in Switzerland and have gone back many, many (ten plus) times so I do claim that. Even with the Irish side, I would be more likely to claim American as Irish culture is not prevalent and my family immigrated multiple generations ago. However, with the American, Swiss, and Moroccan parts of me all being prevalent in my life, I do not feel anyone is more important than the other. I consider myself interracial but passing for white; my father is clearly of color, while it is less obvious for me, especially to those not knowing Moroccan features. I do not claim the discrimination people of color face, but I am still interracial, no one can take that away from me.

I am tired of being put into a box where people are comfortable. You want me to be fully white because I pass for white? Because I don’t fit what your image of a Moroccan is?…

Read the entire article here.

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Rediscovering My Father

Posted in Articles, Autobiography, Family/Parenting, Media Archive, United States on 2019-06-01 12:55Z by Steven

Rediscovering My Father

The New York Times
2019-05-31

Shannon Luders-Manuel


Lucy Jones

In a lost photo, I found the memory of my dad I wanted to preserve.

One night in 2001, newly married and in my first real apartment, I pulled out my grandma’s vintage leather suitcase. Its handle was long gone, but I used it to store hundreds of old photos.

I searched through each photo and negative, hoping I might find a double of the one good picture of my dad and me.

My dad had recently died of lung cancer. The last photo I had was of him lying on his hospice bed, feeble and hooked to an oxygen tank. Any hope of future connection was buried along with his ashes.

Back when I was in high school and living in San Jose, my friends Pamela and Emily had joined me on a rare weekend train ride to see my father in Sacramento. The infectious giggles of teenage girls rubbed off on my dad, who was a natural kidder but always reserved and debonair. He and I were growing apart, as parents and teenagers often do, but the space between us was inflated by the extra complications of alcoholism, poverty and racially-blended families…

Read the entire article here.

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The Seeker of Stories

Posted in Articles, Autobiography, Latino Studies, Media Archive, United States on 2019-05-24 20:15Z by Steven

The Seeker of Stories

Christina Torres: Teacher. Runner. Writer.
2019-05-23

Christina Torres, Teacher
Punahou School, Honolulu, Hawai‘i

“So… what are you? Like, where are you from?”

Like many mixed-race and/or “ethnically ambiguous” people, I’ve spent quite a bit of time explaining myself. I grew up in a mostly white suburb in Southern California, I’ve spent a lot of my time (and writing) trying to explain who I am (my dad is Chicano and my mom is Filipina. My brother and I call it “Mexipino/a”).

Being mixed-race in the U.S. was and is confusing at times. In a society desperately trying to slip an easily-read label, we struggle to fit that narrative. We get told we’re “not-_______ enough,” or not really _______ , as if our mixed status means there’s a quantifiable amount of culture we’ll never be able to maintain.

And, like it did for a lot of mixed race folks, those words hurt. A lot. They made me question myself and my identity, they made me feel less than to my community in a world that already looked at Brown people as less than. Yes, my parents helped me try to navigate these waters and helped me be proud of both cultures, but it was hard when people I thought would get me still made me feel alone. It made me feel as if I had nowhere to go…

Read the entire article here.

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Self-Portrait in Black and White: Unlearning Race

Posted in Autobiography, Books, Identity Development/Psychology, Monographs, Philosophy on 2019-05-18 15:30Z by Steven

Self-Portrait in Black and White: Unlearning Race

W. W. Norton
2019-10-15
2018 pages
5.5 × 8.3 in
Hardcover ISBN: 978-0-393-60886-1

Thomas Chatterton Williams

A meditation on race and identity from one of our most provocative cultural critics.

A reckoning with the way we choose to see and define ourselves, Self-Portrait in Black and White is the searching story of one American family’s multigenerational transformation from what is called black to what is assumed to be white. Thomas Chatterton Williams, the son of a “black” father from the segregated South and a “white” mother from the West, spent his whole life believing the dictum that a single drop of “black blood” makes a person black. This was so fundamental to his self-conception that he’d never rigorously reflected on its foundations—but the shock of his experience as the black father of two extremely white-looking children led him to question these long-held convictions.

“It is not that I have come to believe that I am no longer black or that my daughter is white,” Williams writes. “It is that these categories cannot adequately capture either of us.” Beautifully written and bound to upset received opinions on race, Self-Portrait in Black and White is an urgent work for our time.

Note from Steven F. Riley: See Chatterton Williams’ article “Black and Blue and Blond” in the Volume 91, Number 1 (Winter 2015) edition of the Virginia Quarterly Review.

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Born Biracial: How One Mother Took On Race in America

Posted in Autobiography, Books, Census/Demographics, Family/Parenting, Media Archive, Monographs, Politics/Public Policy, United States on 2019-04-27 01:32Z by Steven

Born Biracial: How One Mother Took On Race in America

Memories Press
2019-05-01
250 pages
6 x 0.6 x 9 inches
Hardcover ISBN: 978-1733908818
Paperback ISBN: 978-1733908825
eBook ISBN: 978-1733908801

Susan Graham

The Birth of a National Civil Rights Movement

Susan Graham is the White mother of two biracial children whose father is Black. Born Biracial: How One Mother Took on Race in America is the true story of how she brought an invisible population to the forefront and started the multiracial movement. She started a simple advocacy group and turned it into a national civil rights movement. Along the way, her personal life was suffering. The emotional story of her marriage to a CNN news anchor, being a mother to biracial children, divorce, and remarriage are interwoven in her life’s story. This is the one story every interracial family should read.

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Discovering the Illusion: An Interview with T Kira Madden

Posted in Articles, Asian Diaspora, Autobiography, Gay & Lesbian, Interviews, Media Archive, United States on 2019-04-21 16:56Z by Steven

Discovering the Illusion: An Interview with T Kira Madden

Asian American Writers’ Workshop
2019-03-18

Pik-Shuen Fung


T Kira Madden, Photo by Jac Martinez

“Magic and writing, it’s all misdirection, defamiliarization, and at its best, the ahhhhh moment of surprise.”

Nothing is steadfast in the childhood of Long Live the Tribe of Fatherless Girls, only a slow unraveling. An only child born out of an affair between her wealthy white shoe-brand father and her Chinese-Hawaiian model mother, [T Kira] Madden went back and forth between the chaos of her home, where her parents struggled with drug and alcohol addiction, to the misery of her Boca Raton private school, where she faced ostracism as a queer biracial girl.

Madden writes, “I wanted love the size of a fist. Something I could hold, something hot and knuckled and alive.” To contain, to hold, to be vulnerable—these intense desires both shape and propel her exploration of grief, trauma, pain, and forgiveness. Composed as a kaleidoscope of darkly shimmering fragments, this courageous debut memoir is the documentation of one woman’s attempt to write down and rewrite her own history, so as to make space for more love.

I had the chance to speak with T Kira on a freezing afternoon in January. She welcomed me into her cozy home, where there were glowing candles, a pot of roasted buckwheat tea, and two energetic poodles who insisted on sitting around for the conversation…

Read the entire interview here.

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The Mouse Room

Posted in Autobiography, Books, Media Archive, Monographs, United States on 2019-04-21 16:44Z by Steven

The Mouse Room

She Books (An imprint of She Writes Press)
2014-03-31

Susan Ito, Instructor
Bay Path University, Longmeadow, Massachusetts

Susan Ito is a struggling college student, a young adult on the cusp of parental independence, when she meets her birth mother for the first time. Instead of launching into adulthood, she finds herself entangled in longing for this new kind of mother love where she sees her own self, mirrored in mysterious and tantalizing ways. At the same time that she explores the genetic threads that bind her to this stranger, she works as the “mouse girl,” caring for hundreds of experimental mice in a medical research laboratory. The relationship with her birth mother is as tormented as any partially requited love story: waiting by the phone, haunting the mailbox, and pacing the floor wondering about a promised visit that may or may not happen. Meanwhile, she tracks the intricate family trees of the hordes of squeaky rodents in her care. Memoirist, fiction writer, and solo performer Susan Ito explores themes of family, identity, DNA, and love in this unique and poignant story.

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Illustrating the Messy Reality of Life as an Interracial Family

Posted in Asian Diaspora, Autobiography, Family/Parenting, Interviews, United States on 2019-04-21 14:51Z by Steven

Illustrating the Messy Reality of Life as an Interracial Family

The Atlantic
2019-04-12

Amal Ahmed


Mira Jacob / Courtesy of Penguin Random House

In her new graphic memoir, the author Mira Jacob documents conversations about love and race with multiple generations of her family.

When the novelist Mira Jacob’s son was 6, he started asking her a lot of questions about race and identity. It started with Michael Jackson: Was he brown or black or white, and what did he like best? Then his questions took a more serious turn: Was it bad to be brown in America? Though he was only 6, Jacob’s son, who is biracial, was old enough to understand the news at the time, which was fixated on the riots in Ferguson, Missouri, after a white cop shot a black teenager. He wanted to know whether white people were afraid of brown people. And what about his own father, who was white? Was he ever scared of brown people?

Jacob didn’t always know how to answer him in the moment. She remembered the confusing conversations about race and identity that she’d had as a child herself, growing up in one of the few South Asian families in New Mexico. But having those conversations with her son in the years leading up to Donald Trump’s presidency made her realize that there weren’t any easy answers to the question of what it means to grow up as a person of color in the United States.

Even though she’s a writer by trade, Jacob couldn’t find the words to describe what she was feeling. She often felt paralyzed thinking about the hurtful comments she might receive online if she did write openly about those tricky conversations. But she still felt the urge to record them somehow, and that led her to producing a memoir in the form of a graphic novel. The book, Good Talk, spans from her childhood in New Mexico to her more recent arguments with in-laws who wanted to vote for Trump and who she felt weren’t listening to her concerns about his racist rhetoric on the campaign trail…

Read the entire interview here.

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