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

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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Good Talk: A Memoir in Conversations

Posted in Autobiography, Books, Family/Parenting, Media Archive, Monographs, United States on 2019-04-21 14:38Z by Steven

Good Talk: A Memoir in Conversations

Penguin Random House
368 pages
Hardcover ISBN: 9780399589041

Mira Jacob
Brooklyn, New York

“How brown is too brown?”
“Can Indians be racist?”
“What does real love between really different people look like?”

Like many six-year-olds, Mira Jacob’s half-Jewish, half-Indian son, Z, has questions about everything. At first they are innocuous enough, but as tensions from the 2016 election spread from the media into his own family, they become much, much more complicated. Trying to answer him honestly, Mira has to think back to where she’s gotten her own answers: her most formative conversations about race, color, sexuality, and, of course, love.

Written with humor and vulnerability, this deeply relatable graphic memoir is a love letter to the art of conversation—and to the hope that hovers in our most difficult questions.

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Portrait of My Father

Posted in Articles, Asian Diaspora, Biography, Family/Parenting, Media Archive, United States on 2019-04-20 00:34Z by Steven

Portrait of My Father

March 2009

Alexander Chee, Associate Professor of English and Creative Writing
Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire

Portrait of My Father - Alexander Chee

His drink was Crown Royal, his candy bar, a Baby Ruth, though he didn’t like chocolate much. He was good at poker, loved reading Tolstoy. His suits were bespoke.

In Korea, starting at the age of five, he ran barefoot in the snow when he was training for tae kwon do, so he was ready, during the Korean War, for when he and his oldest brother had to steal food from overturned army supply trucks, running the bags of rice home on their backs. After the war, he became the international tae kwon do champion in his age group at the age of eighteen, and captain of his college rugby team — the rice had helped two ways.

He left for the US while his father was away on business so he couldn’t stop him. His mother gave him a gold belt buckle to sell when he arrived, as she couldn’t give him money, and asked him, whatever he did, not to marry a blue-eyed, blonde-haired American girl…

Read the entire article here.

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Hybrida: Poems

Posted in Asian Diaspora, Books, Family/Parenting, Forthcoming Media, Identity Development/Psychology, Poetry, Social Justice, United States on 2019-04-19 18:33Z by Steven

Hybrida: Poems

W. W. Norton
May 2019
144 pages
6.4 × 8.5 in
Hardcover ISBN: 978-1-324-00248-2

Tina Chang, Poet Laureate of Brooklyn, New York
Brooklyn, New York

A stirring and confident examination of mixed-race identity, violence, and history skillfully rendered through the lens of motherhood.

In this timely, assured collection, Tina Chang confronts the complexities of raising a mixed-race child during an era of political upheaval in the United States. She ruminates on the relationship between her son’s blackness and his safety, exploring the dangers of childhood in a post–Trayvon Martin era and invoking racialized roles in fairy tales. Against the stark urban landscapes of threat and surveillance, Chang returns to the language of mothers.

Meditating on the lives of Michael Brown, Leiby Kletzky, and Noemi Álvarez Quillay—lost at the hands of individuals entrusted to protect them—Chang creates hybrid poetic forms that mirror her investigation of racial tensions. Through an agile blend of zuihitsu, ghazal, prose poems, mosaic poems, and lyric essays, Hybrida envisions a childhood of mixed race as one that is complex, emotionally wrought, and often vulnerable. Hybrida is a twenty-first-century tale that is equal parts a mother’s love and her fury, an ambitious and revelatory exploration of identity that establishes Tina Chang as one of the most vital voices of her generation.

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Boundaries of Love: Interracial Marriage and the Meaning of Race

Posted in Books, Brazil, Caribbean/Latin America, Family/Parenting, Forthcoming Media, Monographs, Social Science, United States on 2019-04-10 16:29Z by Steven

Boundaries of Love: Interracial Marriage and the Meaning of Race

New York University Press
May 2019
320 pages
16 black and white illustrations
Cloth ISBN: 9781479878611
Paper ISBN: 9781479831456

Chinyere K. Osuji, Assistant Professor of Sociology
Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, Camden

How interracial couples in Brazil and the US navigate racial boundaries

How do people understand and navigate being married to a person of a different race? Based on individual interviews with forty-seven black-white couples in two large, multicultural cities—Los Angeles and Rio de JaneiroBoundaries of Love explores how partners in these relationships ultimately reproduce, negotiate, and challenge the “us” versus “them” mentality of ethno-racial boundaries.

By centering marriage, Chinyere Osuji reveals the family as a primary site for understanding the social construction of race. She challenges the naive but widespread belief that interracial couples and their children provide an antidote to racism in the twenty-first century, instead highlighting the complexities and contradictions of these relationships. Featuring black husbands with white wives as well as black wives with white husbands, Boundaries of Love sheds light on the role of gender in navigating life married to a person of a different color.

Osuji compares black-white couples in Brazil and the United States, the two most populous post–slavery societies in the Western hemisphere. These settings, she argues, reveal the impact of contemporary race mixture on racial hierarchies and racial ideologies, both old and new.

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Leitner Human Rights Speaker Series: Chinyere Osuji, Rutgers University – cosponsored with the Center on Race, Law and Justice – Boundaries of Love: Interracial Marriage and the Meaning of Race in Brazil and the United States

Posted in Brazil, Caribbean/Latin America, Family/Parenting, Forthcoming Media, Live Events, Social Science, United States on 2019-04-08 19:04Z by Steven

Leitner Human Rights Speaker Series: Chinyere Osuji, Rutgers University – cosponsored with the Center on Race, Law and Justice – Boundaries of Love: Interracial Marriage and the Meaning of Race in Brazil and the United States

Leitner Center for International Law and Justice
Fordham Law School
150 West 62nd Street
Room 3-09
New York, New York 10023
2019-04-09, 12:30-13:30 EDT (Local Time)

Chinyere Osuji is an Assistant Professor of Sociology at Rutgers University with affiliations in Africana Studies and Latin American and Latino studies. Before coming to Rutgers-Camden, she was a post-doctoral fellow at the University of Pennsylvania Center for Africana Studies.

Chinyere conducts research on the meaning that social actors give to racial and ethnic boundaries. Her first book, Boundaries of Love: Interracial Marriage and the Meaning of Race (April 2019, NYU Press) takes a novel approach to comparing race and ethnicity across societies by examining the experiences of interracial couples. Boundaries of Love relies on 103 qualitative interviews that she conducted with 52 black-white couples between 2008 and 2012 in Los Angeles and Rio de Janeiro (in Portuguese). Through using what she calls a critical constructionist approach, Boundaries of Love compares the experiences of couples involving black men and white women with those of black women with white men in these two diverse, multicultural settings. This book reveals how non-elites in these two post-Atlantic slavery societies employ cultural repertoires that push against, bridge over, blur, dismantle or reproduce ethnoracial boundaries.

Chinyere’s next project will employ the critical constructionist approach to nursing and healthcare. In addition, she will be examining the lives of African immigrants, focusing on how they form community without being spatially concentrated.

For more information, click here.

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‘I’m from more cultures than you!’

Posted in Family/Parenting, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, United Kingdom, Videos on 2019-03-07 19:58Z by Steven

‘I’m from more cultures than you!’

BBC News

One Culture: two generations, where we speak to British families and explore the differences between first- and second-generation immigrants.

Of the 1.2 million mixed race people in England and Wales, 0.5% of them identify as ‘Mixed other’. Bilal, who is of both Jamaican and South Asian Kenyan descent, has an open conversation with his parents Colleen and Asif about the pressures, and the positives of being mixed with two minority groups.

A part of #CrossingDivides – a BBC season bringing people together. For more stories like this go to

Produced and edited by Elizabeth Ashamu
Directed by Cebo Luthuli
Executive produced by Karlene Pinnock

Watch the video here.

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Mamp Podcast Episode #8: The Challenges of Traveling as a Multiracial Family

Posted in Audio, Family/Parenting, Interviews, Media Archive, United States on 2019-03-07 18:20Z by Steven

Mamp Podcast Episode #8: The Challenges of Traveling as a Multiracial Family

My American Melting Pot

Lori L. Tharps, Host, Head Chef and Chief Content Creator; Associate Professor of journalism
Temple University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

The Joys and Challenges of Traveling as a Multiracial Family

On episode #8 of the podcast, we’re discussing the challenges of traveling as a multiracial family. Thanks to Cindy McCain, the widow of Senator John McCain, this issue recently made headlines when Mrs. McCain believed she was witnessing a case of child trafficking at an Arizona airport. What McCain really saw was a mother traveling with her mixed-race child, but because the two didn’t “match” she thought they looked suspicious so she alerted the police. I’m joined by travel blogger and interracial justice worker, Carmen Sognonvi to talk about what it’s really like to travel with a family that “doesn’t match,” and to discuss the benefits and joys of family travel.

Listen to the episode here. Download the episode here.

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Together and apart: relational experiences of place, identity and belonging in the lives of mixed-ethnicity families

Posted in Articles, Family/Parenting, Media Archive, Social Science on 2019-02-26 01:52Z by Steven

Together and apart: relational experiences of place, identity and belonging in the lives of mixed-ethnicity families

Social & Cultural Geography
Published online: 2019-01-17
DOI: 10.1080/14649365.2018.1563710

Natascha Klocker, Senior Lecturer, Social & Cultural Geography
School of Geography & Sustainable Communities, Australian Centre for Culture, Environment, Society and Space (ACCESS)
University of Wollongong, NSW, Australia

Alexander Tindale, Ph.D. Candidate
School of Geography & Sustainable Communities, Australian Centre for Culture, Environment, Society and Space (ACCESS)
University of Wollongong, NSW, Australia

Intersectionality, as an ‘analytical sensibility’, demands attentiveness to the multiple aspects of identity that interlock to shape privilege and marginality in specific spatial contexts and moments. Notwithstanding their fluidity, intersectional analyses have retained a core focus on the individualized self. This paper articulates an intercorporeal approach to intersectionality, based on interviews with adult members of mixed-ethnicity (mixed-race) families. In public space, family members are exposed to stares, questions, judgements and racisms that metamorphose depending on who they are with. Alone, with a visibly different partner, with mixed-ethnicity children, or as a family unit, the strands of each family member’s multiple identities intersect with those of their loved ones. Each is interpellated – or feels interpellated – differently, in physical proximity to the other. Our empirical analysis sheds new light on the everyday lives of mixed-ethnicity families. Our theoretical pairing of intercorporeality and intersectionality presents an innovative extension to dominant interpretations of the latter. It highlights the analytical utility of adding an extra-individual lens to the intersectionality toolkit. While visibly different mixed-ethnicity families afford a potent example, our approach has broader resonance. An intercorporeal approach to intersectionality offers nuanced perspectives on place, identity and belonging. It is necessary because privilege and marginality are always lived, relationally.

Read or purchase the article here.

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A Tale of Two Faces

Posted in Articles, Family/Parenting, Latino Studies, Media Archive, United States on 2019-02-26 01:38Z by Steven

A Tale of Two Faces

America In Black
The Root

Marguerite Matthews

The writer’s paternal grandparents, left, and her parents.
Photo: Marguerite Matthews

America. In Black. is a weekly essay series that examines the myriad experiences of blackness in the United States.

My mother tells me I look like my grandmother, a brown belle whose features I know only through faded photographs and choppy 8mm film strips. I try to imagine the experience of a woman with whom I seem to share a face, with her growing up under Jim Crow in the 1910s and 1920s as a black girl in Elizabeth City, N.C., and maturing into womanhood in Atlantic City, N.J. I don’t know much about her, but I know she was a badass because she wore pants, traveled the world without her husband, and bore her first child (my father) in her 30s. My grandmother dared to defy the norms of her time, and in that way, I think I look like her, too.

My friends, on the other hand, tell me I look like my mother, a bronze beauty whose eyes I have been swallowed by for more than three decades. As a child, I looked into the sepia-colored face of my mother’s childhood and declared she was me. She was born and raised in California to Spanish-speaking parents from Texas who were desperate to escape their Mexican-ness and assimilate into white American culture. Without any desire to be or pass as white, my mother bathed her skin in the sun even after warnings of getting too dark and risked being disowned for marrying a black man. A true chingona, my mother has lived life on her own terms. And I hope I look like her in that way, too…

Read the entire article here.

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