The Chat With Chelene Knight

Posted in Articles, Autobiography, Canada, Interviews, Media Archive on 2018-05-20 00:59Z by Steven

The Chat With Chelene Knight

49th Shelf
2018-05-09

Trevor Corkum

dearcurrentoccupant

Chelene Knight’s debut memoir Dear Current Occupant (Bookt*ug) takes a closer look at childhood trauma and the uncertain idea of home. It’s a haunting, experimental, and deeply moving book which follows the author as she returns to many of the apartments she lived in as a young girl.

The Toronto Star calls Knight “one of the storytellers we need most right now” and calls the writing in Dear Current Occupant “lush, lyrical…mesmerizing.”

Chelene Knight was born in Vancouver, and is currently the Managing Editor of Room Magazine. A graduate of The Writers’ Studio at SFU, Chelene has been published in various Canadian and American literary magazines. Her debut book, Braided Skin, was published in 2015. Dear Current Occupant is her second book. Chelene is also working on a historical novel set in the 1930s and 40s in Vancouver’s Hogan’s Alley.

Trevor Corkum: Can you tell us more about the inspiration behind Dear Current Occupant?

Chelene Knight: While I was writing my first book, Braided Skin (Mother Tongue Publishing 2015), I felt that there was an unfinished thread. Something wasn’t complete. I actually started working on Dear Current Occupant in 2013, but quickly tucked it away because the realization that I was not ready to re-experience everything was quite apparent. I was not ready to write these stories.
When it comes to childhood and trauma, there’s a certain amount of healing that needs to occur, you have to distance yourself a bit, step back from the table. Every day on my way to work I’d pass ride the Sky Train and just before the train pulled into Broadway Station, I’d get this twinge as I passed one of the buildings I used to live in as a young girl. Then I’d pass another, and another, and another and the same twinges poked and prodded under my skin. Then I knew I was ready to start the work, to put the pieces together.

I stood out front of as many of the houses as I could remember and I just wrote. It was winter and I was cold. I didn’t have gloves on and the snow was coming down, but I couldn’t stop. Memories and fragments came back like lightening. There was something about being there in the space. Even though I was outside those walls I knew so well, I will still there, back in time. I had no idea the effect this book would have on people. I have received nothing but stories of change, emails, tweets, messages, and posts about how this book changed them.

And at the end of the day isn’t that what a book is supposed to do? Change the reader…

Read the entire interview here.

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In the Wake of His Damage

Posted in Articles, Asian Diaspora, Autobiography, Media Archive, United States, Women on 2018-05-19 23:46Z by Steven

In the Wake of His Damage

The Rumpus
2018-05-12

Shreerekha
New York, New York


Rumpus original art by Aubrey Nolan

All the sleeping women
Are now awake and moving.
Yosano Akiko (1911)

For all women who already know this narrative;
For all women touched by the Great Writers, named, unnamed, and some listed as letters;
For all who commune in the trauma and healing promised herein;
For all who believe in the power of radical transgressive border-crossing love;
For my Happiness, and my son and my daughter, so that you may walk differently;
For the ex with whom love remains the last transgression —

The Autobiographical

The year after I started teaching in Texas, his novel came out. Ten years after the event of our relationship, ten tortured years where we continued to communicate, a sort of communication that involved him reaching out, letting me know I made all the wrong decisions in my life, and then, asking for forgiveness and another chance, I thought I should teach his novel in my classes. The novel itself was important, won the Pulitzer, and by teaching it enough times, I thought it would do the trick. The classroom is sacral: all that goes through it turns magical and I would emerge whole. I would finally be rid of my ghost-love and I could sanitize our past through the distance offered by teaching and making a monument of his work for my students. Somehow, that plan failed.

What I do is teach, write, and think on, most often, feminist texts and theories. Such a pedagogy has not just carried me through the classrooms over the decades, but become a mooring post in life. It offers me a vision and a strategy, a way to love radically, think fearlessly, and keep renewing, as I can, the bridges between projects of feminism and social justice. Gloria Anzaldua’s vision, a vision that has carried many a woman through a dark day, has been valuable in thinking through the rubble of this event in my life. In Borderlands, Anzaldua offers a prophetic amalgam that helps women identify the productive potential of the mestiza way, the middle spaces she calls the nepantla. For women of the many elsewheres, women who continually travel and cross borders, Anzaldua’s psychic restlessness gives a fist bump of legitimacy, an anchor in the cultural collisions many of us remain mired in. Rather than a counter stance, she speaks of developing a position that is inclusive, inaugurating for us the amasamiento, a creature of both light and darkness.

I identify in a category not formalized or accepted in colonial census charts or western ways of understanding the other, as a black South Asian. I am an Indian who lays claim to the global community of black consciousness, and I reside between so many worlds of belonging and unbelonging. In racializing colorism and politicizing my own experience of antipathy witnessed toward the color of my skin, I crafted my own passport into marooned and shapeshifting black communities that gave credence to ontologies and a posteriori narratives over normative constructions of race, ethnicities, and nationalities…

Read the entire article here.

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Meghan Markle Can’t Save the World

Posted in Articles, Media Archive, Social Justice, United Kingdom on 2018-05-19 23:26Z by Steven

Meghan Markle Can’t Save the World

Jacobin
December 2017

Branko Marcetic, Editorial Assistant
Auckland, New Zealand


Prince Harry and Meghan Markle during an official photo call to announce their engagement at The Sunken Gardens at Kensington Palace on November 27, 2017 in London, England. Chris Jackson / Getty Images

A just world would be one without royalty — and celebrity humanitarians.

The British royal family has had a banner decade. Intentionally or not, the latest generation’s charisma, combined with a steady stream of high-profile media events from the Queen’s diamond jubilee and the 2012 Olympics to William and Kate’s wedding and their first, second, and third kid, has made the royal family more popular than ever, partially suppressing the British public’s rising tide of republican feeling. Prince Harry’s recent engagement to Suits actress and activist Meghan Markle has reinforced this process, foreshadowing a literal marriage of Hollywood glitz and British royalty.

The public has almost universally gushed over Markle since her relationship with and now engagement to Prince Harry was revealed, and it’s not hard to see why. The fact that she’s not only a “commoner” but American — and a person of color at that — signifies the changing face of the British monarchy. But most profiles have zeroed in on Markle’s outspoken feminism, her criticism of the Trump administration, and her humanitarian work for the UN and the charity World Vision. Pundits have also expressed their disappointment that she will have to curb her activist streak upon marrying into the family…

Read the entire article here.

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Jesmyn Ward: ‘Black girls are silenced, misunderstood and underestimated’

Posted in Articles, Arts, Interviews, Media Archive, Mississippi, United States on 2018-05-19 22:54Z by Steven

Jesmyn Ward: ‘Black girls are silenced, misunderstood and underestimated’

The Guardian
2018-05-11

Lisa Allardice, Editor
Guardian Review

Jesmyn Ward: ‘I fought from the very beginning.’
Jesmyn Ward: ‘I fought from the very beginning.’ Photograph: Sarah Lee for the Guardian

The author of Sing, Unburied, Sing, had a tough childhood in Mississippi, survived Hurricane Katrina, and became the first woman to win two US national book awards for fiction

If Jesmyn Ward’s fiction tends towards the epic, that is maybe because her life has been marked by monumental events. “I fought from the very beginning”, she says. Born prematurely at just 26 weeks, she was badly attacked by her father’s pit bull as a small child, her younger brother was killed at 19, and, along with several generations of her family, she sheltered from Hurricane Katrina in a truck. Yet today she is the first woman to win the US national book award for fiction twice, hailed by a leading reviewer as “one of the most powerfully poetic writers in the country”. And on the morning we meet, it has just been announced that she has been shortlisted for the Women’s prize for fiction for her novel Sing, Unburied, Sing

Ward’s subject is what it means to be poor and black in America’s rural south, where “life is a hurricane”. Modern Mississippi, she says, “means addiction, ground-in generational poverty, living very closely with the legacy of slavery, of Jim Crow, of lynching and of intractable racism”. In her first novel, Where the Line Bleeds (2008), she felt she “protected” her characters from these brutal realities, because she knew and cared about them too much: “So I kept pulling my punches. And later I realised that was a mistake. Life doesn’t spare the kind of people who I write about, so I felt like it would be dishonest to spare my characters in that way.”…

Read the entire interview here.

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Talking about race with your own mom can be hard. Here’s why it’s worth it

Posted in Articles, Family/Parenting, Media Archive, Social Justice, United States, Videos on 2018-05-19 21:53Z by Steven

Talking about race with your own mom can be hard. Here’s why it’s worth it

PBS NewsHour
Public Broadcasting Service
2018-05-15

Judy Woodruff, Host


Ijeoma Oluo

When Ijeoma Oluo got a voicemail from her mom saying that she had had an epiphany about race, Oluo didn’t want to call her back. But, she says, as awful and awkward as the conversation was, she is glad it happened. Oluo shares her humble opinion on why that talk can be so fraught and why it’s so important.

Watch the video and read the transcript here.

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Furious Meghan Markle Can’t Believe Harry Hasn’t Told Family She’s Black Yet

Posted in Articles, Media Archive, United Kingdom on 2018-05-19 21:44Z by Steven

Furious Meghan Markle Can’t Believe Harry Hasn’t Told Family She’s Black Yet

The Onion
2018-05-17

LONDON—Reacting with indignation and frustration as her fiancé admitted his continued omission, furious royal bride-to-be Meghan Markle found herself unable to believe Thursday that Prince Harry had not yet informed the royal family that she is, in fact, black. “Jesus, Harry, what the hell? Are you ashamed of me?…

Read (and laugh at) the entire article here.

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Meghan Markle Is ‘Changing Discussions About What It Means to Be Biracial in America’

Posted in Articles, Identity Development/Psychology, Social Science, United Kingdom, United States on 2018-05-19 21:28Z by Steven

Meghan Markle Is ‘Changing Discussions About What It Means to Be Biracial in America’

PEOPLE
2018-05-19

Breanne L. Heldman, Senior Editor


Ben Birchall/PA Wire

Meghan Markle didn’t just become the Duchess of Sussex on Saturday when she married Prince Harry in a gorgeous ceremony at St. George’s Church in Windsor Castle. She also became an important cultural icon of positive change in race relations around the world.

“The U.K. has one of the fastest-growing mixed-race populations in the world,” notes Dr. Sarah E. Gaither, an assistant professor of psychology and neuroscience at Duke University who also runs the Duke Identity and Diversity Lab. “To the biracial community, she’s really serving as a symbol of this changing demographic that Britain is facing in addition to the United States.”

“Meghan and Harry’s marriage is really significant because the British monarchy has always been viewed as so, so white,” DaVette See, correspondent for Black Girl Nerds, tells PEOPLE. “Now, they will be seen as more a part of a multicultural world.”.

“Being a biracial American, I didn’t grow up with a lot of biracial exemplars in mainstream media or the books I read,” says Gaither, “so Meghan Markle is really an inspiration for a lot of women of color, a lot of girls of color across the United States in showing that you can help change the historical ties. You can start changing discussions about what it means to be biracial and what it means to be black in America and, now in Britain as well.”…

Read the entire article here.

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The demise of the white majority is a myth

Posted in Articles, Census/Demographics, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, Social Science, United States on 2018-05-19 16:54Z by Steven

The demise of the white majority is a myth

The Washington Post
2018-05-18

Dowell Myers, Professor
Sol Price School of Public Policy, University of Southern California

Morris Levy, Assistant Professor of Political Science
University of Southern California


Meghan Markle, engaged to Britain’s Prince Harry, with her mother, Doria Ragland. (Steve Parsons/Agence France-Presse/Getty Images)

The tale of the coming white minority has roiled American politics. A recent political science study shows that white anxiety over lost status tipped the last election to Donald Trump, and Democratic Party leaders are banking on changing demography for a brighter destiny.

But rumors of white America’s demise have been greatly exaggerated. That’s because the prevailing definition of whiteness is stubbornly stuck in the past.

It was 2000 when the Census Bureau first projected an end to the white majority of the population in 2059. Four years later, it revised that date to 2050. Then in 2008, it told the public that the passing of the white majority would occur in 2042. At this abrupt rate of change, some anxious whites might see displacement as an imminent threat.

In fact, the Census Bureau projects no fewer than six futures for the white population based on various definitions of whiteness. The most touted set of projections adopts the most exclusive definition, restricting the white population to those who self-identify as white and also no other race or ethnicity. Under this definition, whites are indeed in numerical decline.

But this doesn’t reflect the increasingly fluid and inclusive way that many Americans now regard racial and ethnic backgrounds. Mixed-race parentage is growing more common, and a rapidly growing number of people choose more than one racial or ethnic category to describe themselves on the census…

Read the entire article here.

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On Prince Harry and Meghan Markle: Interracial Couples and Their Multiracial Children Will Not Save Us

Posted in Articles, Brazil, Caribbean/Latin America, Census/Demographics, Family/Parenting, Media Archive, Social Science, United Kingdom, United States on 2018-05-18 18:54Z by Steven

On Prince Harry and Meghan Markle: Interracial Couples and Their Multiracial Children Will Not Save Us

Chinyere Osuji
2018-05-18

Chinyere Osuji, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Sociology
Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey (Camden)

This weekend, people all around the world will be tuning in to watch the royal wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, an American actress. With a black mother and a white father, Markle identifies as biracial and will be one of the first Americans to marry into the British Royal family. To the chagrin of some, British royal weddings are a big deal in its former colonies, the United States included. But this is a major exception. Black women have been excluded from Western princess imagery until recently with the Disney Princess Tianna, who spent most of the movie as an animal. Yet, with Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, for the first time in living memory, an Afrodescendant woman will be the star who ends the movie as a princess in a real life royal wedding.

Last year was not only the year that Prince Harry proposed to Markle, it also marked the 50th anniversary of the landmark 1967 Loving v. Virginia Supreme Court decision outlawing state anti-miscegenation laws. To celebrate interracial love, The New York Times ran an editorial titled “How Interracial Love Is Saving America” by Sheryll Cashin. The author cited research by the Pew Research Center on how 17% of newlyweds and 20% of cohabiting relationships are either interracial or interethnic, many times higher than in 1967. Cashin saw the enlightened whites who had married across color lines as being at the forefront of a New Reconstruction in the Trump Era. Many people think that as an important symbol of racial harmony, Prince Harry and Ms. Markle will change the world. Like these U.S. newlyweds, their love will be the acid melting the boundaries separating blacks and whites.

Unfortunately, it is not true…

Read the entire article here.

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Passing or Transracial?: Authority, Race, and Sex in the Rachel Dolezal Documentary

Posted in Articles, Book/Video Reviews, Communications/Media Studies, Media Archive, Passing, United States on 2018-05-18 15:32Z by Steven

Passing or Transracial?: Authority, Race, and Sex in the Rachel Dolezal Documentary

Beacon Broadside: A Project of Beacon Press
2018-05-10

Lisa Page, Assistant Professor of English and Director of Creative Writing
George Washington University, Washington, D.C.

Rachel Dolezal
Photo credit: YouTube/Dr. Phil

For some of us, racial identity is elastic. We can pass. For white, for black, for Middle Eastern. For Latinx. I am one of those people. I know what it is to assimilate to a group you identify with, because I did it myself, against my white mother’s wishes. She hated me calling myself black.

For this reason, my response to The Rachel Divide, Laura Brownson’s new documentary about Rachel Dolezal, is complicated. Dolezal famously passed for black, for years, before her white parents outed her in 2015. I feel two ways about this. I completely get the outrage that followed the reveal. But I also have sympathy for Dolezal. I know what it’s like to turn your back on the white side of your family.

The film opens with clips of Dolezal’s activism, as president of the Spokane NAACP, which came to a screeching halt once she was revealed to be a white woman who darkened her complexion and wore a weave.

Dolezal doesn’t call that passing.

“Who’s the gatekeeper for blackness?” she asks, near the beginning of the film. “Do we have the right to live exactly how we feel?”…

Read the entire article here.

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