Ultimately, the narrative that imagines mixed-race people as a panacea for racism is a flawed one that reinforces ideas around the very existence of race.

Posted in Excerpts/Quotes on 2017-03-09 21:38Z by Steven

Ultimately, the narrative that imagines mixed-race people as a panacea for racism is a flawed one that reinforces ideas around the very existence of race. Instead, we might want to refocus our conversation around how the collective fiction of race is weaponized to limit access to equality and justice for some groups and not others, then maybe we’re onto something.

Alexandros Orphanides, “Why Mixed-Race Americans Will Not Save The Country,” Code Switch: Race and Identity, Remixed, National Public Radio, March 8, 2017. http://www.npr.org/sections/codeswitch/2017/03/08/519010491/why-mixed-race-americans-will-not-save-the-country.

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Rachel Dolezal: Can you be black without actually being biologically black?

Posted in Audio, Autobiography, Interviews, Media Archive, Passing, United States on 2017-03-09 21:10Z by Steven

Rachel Dolezal: Can you be black without actually being biologically black?

The Los Angeles Times

Patt Morrison

LA Times columnist Patt Morrison sits down with Rachel Dolezal to discuss race and identity.

In June 2015, a few days before Donald Trump declared that he was running for president, the news cycle was dominated by a different person: Rachel Dolezal. She was the head of the Spokane chapter of the NAACP, an artist, a teacher of black-themed subjects – and, as it turned out, the daughter of white parents. She said she identified as black, and was living the life she felt was authentically her own. Her critics, and there were many, believed she had been living a lie, letting people assume she was black, when years before she had filed a lawsuit as a Howard University graduate student, alleging that the university had discriminated against her because she was a white woman.

Long divorced from her African American husband, Dolezal is bringing up three black sons, the youngest a year old. And she is still living as she was when she decided to “be black without any explanations, reservations, apologies or room for negotiation.” Her new autobiography, “In Full Color,” strikes the same tone: the wrongs in her story belong to a race-obsessed society that doesn’t permit people like her to be who they really feel themselves to be…

Listen to the interview here.

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As A Black Native American, Arizona Woman Had To Prove She Was ‘Native Enough’

Posted in Anthropology, Articles, Audio, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, Native Americans/First Nation, United States on 2017-03-09 19:44Z by Steven

As A Black Native American, Arizona Woman Had To Prove She Was ‘Native Enough’

KJZZ 91.5 FM
Phoenix, Arizona

Naomi Gingold, Weekend Morning Host

Roicia Banks with her mom on the day she graduated from her master’s program. Today Banks is confident in her self-identity, proudly African-American and Native American.
(Photo courtesy of Roicia Banks)

Roicia Banks went to graduate school in Texas, and when she was there, people said to her, “Natives still are alive?”

Natives, as in Native Americans.

Laughing, she continued, “Are you kidding me? Yes, we’re alive.”

Banks, who is from Arizona, is undeniably a modern American woman. She is also Native American.

And although — until the Dakota Access Pipeline protests — Native Americans as a modern people rarely graced the national headlines or broke into the modern American psyche, many do lead lives, on and off reservations.

Banks grew up primarily on a reservation. She’s culturally Hopi and registered in a tribe — just a different one than her adopted family. But although she was entirely brought up in Hopi culture, even on the reservation, there were times where she was treated as if she didn’t belong…

Read the entire story here. Listen to the story (00:03:37) here. Download the story here.

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Eric Nguyen Reviews Genaro Kỳ Lý Smith’s ‘The Land South of the Clouds’

Posted in Articles, Asian Diaspora, Book/Video Reviews, Media Archive, United States on 2017-03-09 02:53Z by Steven

Eric Nguyen Reviews Genaro Kỳ Lý Smith’s ‘The Land South of the Clouds’

diaCRITICS: Covering the arts, culture and politics of the Vietnamese at home and in the diaspora

Eric Nguyen

Author Genaro Kỳ Lý Smith.

diaCRITIC Eric Nguyen reviews The Land South of the Clouds, Genaro Kỳ Lý Smith’s newest fiction novel.

Genaro Kỳ Lý Smith returns to familiar territory in his second book, The Land South of the Clouds. Readers of his previous book, The Land Baron’s Sun, will be acquainted with many of the subjects here: the Vietnam War, the loss of homeland, and even a character, Lý Loc, the elderly patriarch based on Smith’s grandfather who sees his old ways of life dramatically changed when the Communists come to power. But whereas Smith’s first book largely focused on life in Vietnam in the aftermath of war, The Land South of the Cloud explores what life is like for those who left.

The book opens up in Los Angeles. It is June 1979. The Iran hostage crisis is only a few months away and so is the release of Francis Ford Coppola’s Apocalypse Now in American theaters and ten-year-old Long-Vanh is watching his mother, Vu-An, leave as her husband, Wil, sleeps. “You can tell them I’m dead,” she says before asking Long-Vanh to keep her departure a secret and boarding a cab. Torn between loyalties, Long-Vanh races to his sleeping father but is interrupted by the unexpected return of his mother. It was a practice run, she says, before telling him again, “Don’t tell your Dad.”…

The Land South of the Cloud is frank in its depiction of being biracial in a country that often sees only black and white when it comes to race. Like the nameless narrator of James Weldon Johnson’s The Autobiography of an Ex-Colored Man, Long-Vanh isn’t so much as straddled between two worlds of race as alienated by them. Unlike Johnson’s narrator, though, Long-Vanh can’t pass as one race or the other. The result is an experience marked by both outsider status and shame. For Long-Vanh this means being treated as an anomaly at worst or an exotic object at best. As a child, he is called a “yellow nigger” by other Vietnamese kids. As an adult, Long-Vanh notes:

Women were always curious about my kind, and they wanted to know what it was like to sleep with someone like me.  To them, I was something of a curiosity, someone they could lay claim to, like a token, and say, “I’ve slept with one of them.”

Long-Vanh is never truly comfortable with who he is…

Read the entire review here.

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WPGM Commentary: I’m Mixed Race, Can I Speak On Black Issues?

Posted in Articles, Arts, Autobiography, Media Archive, Social Justice on 2017-03-09 02:18Z by Steven

WPGM Commentary: I’m Mixed Race, Can I Speak On Black Issues?

We Plug Good Music

Sophia Thakur

Photo Credit: Nikki Marie

My best friend turned to me, over seven years into our friendship and said “omg, you’re actually half black”. You would think that after seven years of putting up with my face, she would have realised this sooner. I wasn’t surprised however.

With both of my parents spending their early years adventuring the plains of West Africa (Gambia and Sierra Leone), my whole life has been a testament to Gambian culture. From the weekly family parties growing up, to the food and music that have become my most dominant discourse over the years and to anyone who blindly spends time with me; I am an entirely Gambian child. A small country, Kora loving, Benachin eating lady of the west. This is how I saw myself.

This overwhelming, unspoken of, sense of belonging had always felt like one of the biggest contributors to my creative work from the ages of 16-19. I’d spend months at a time writing and performing across the country at black history month events, black lives matter events and even the occasional pan-African event.

Throughout this part of my youth, I had never stopped to smell the roses. The roses, in this case, being an obvious reality to the untrained eye. I am not actually 100% Gambian, or black for that matter.

In a Love Jones type bar, during the winter of 2014, I found myself sharing a stage with a painter who’s role was to illustrate my words, live. Not only was this a cool spin on conventional poetry readings, but I was ecstatic about performing my new poem ‘Kermit’.

This excitement quickly turned into anxiety following my set…

Read the entire article here.

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The Land South of the Clouds

Posted in Asian Diaspora, Books, Media Archive, Novels, United States on 2017-03-09 01:48Z by Steven

The Land South of the Clouds

University of Louisiana at Lafayette Press
350 pages
Softcover ISBN: 9781935754800

Genaro Kỳ Lý Smith, Professor of Creative Writing
Louisiana Tech University

It is the summer of 1979–the year of Apocalypse Now, long lines at the gas pumps, and American hostages in Iran–and 10-year-old Long Vanh is burdened with the secret his mother, Vu-An, entrusted him to keep: not to tell anyone of her desire to return to Vietnam to be with her father who is serving hard labor in a reeducation camp.

As a con lai–half Vietnamese, half black–Long Vanh struggles to see his place in “Asia Minor,” an enclave of Los Angeles comprised of veterans and their foreign war wives. He sees his inability to speak or read his mother’s native language, or even maneuver chopsticks perfectly, as flaws, and hopes that if he can compensate for them, his mother will stay in America to keep the family intact.

The Land South of the Clouds serves as the companion piece to The Land Baron’s Sun: The Story of Lý Loc and His Seven Wives. It is the story of immigrant families meshing into the fabric of American culture, their memories of the old country weighing on their conscience, and the repercussions they feel even from thousand of miles away on another continent, in another world, another life.

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