I have three different racial identities—white, Indian, and multiracial. It is not that I present as one more than the others; they are all whole and complete, and I am all of them.

Posted in Excerpts/Quotes on 2021-11-03 23:35Z by Steven

I have three different racial identities—white, Indian, and multiracial. It is not that I present as one more than the others; they are all whole and complete, and I am all of them. I identify as white when people blame white people for racism and call for them to be better, and as the Indian person who needs them to speak up in places where they hold power, and as the multiracial person who reminds everyone that the racial structures some imagine to be rigid quickly break down under the slightest scrutiny.

Jaya Saxena, “Explaining My Multiracial Identity (So Others Don’t Do It For Me),” Catapult, January 4, 2017. https://catapult.co/stories/explaining-my-multiracial-identity-so-others-dont-do-it-for-me.

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Language as a Kind of Home: Talking with Anne Liu Kellor

Posted in Articles, Asian Diaspora, Autobiography, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive on 2021-11-03 23:32Z by Steven

Language as a Kind of Home: Talking with Anne Liu Kellor

The Rumpus

Grace Loh Prasad

Anne Liu Kellor

How far do you need to travel to unlock the truth of your own heart? This is the central question in Anne Liu Kellor’s lyrical memoir Heart Radical: A Search for Language, Love, and Belonging, forthcoming from She Writes Press on September 7. Propelled by a spiritual quest and a longing to reconnect with the language her mother spoke to her growing up, Kellor left the comfort of her Pacific Northwest home to embark on a journey to Tibet and China in her twenties. Although it wasn’t her first time there—she’d visited before in college—this time she returned to China with a stronger resolve to find a sense of purpose and renew a part of her identity that felt stifled at home.

After traveling to Lhasa, visiting a remote monastery, and almost losing her passport, Kellor set up a home base in Chengdu, a bustling metropolis in Western China that’s bigger than New York City. She found work teaching English to college and graduate students but quickly became overwhelmed with the workload and the stress of having to be a role model and tiptoeing around sensitive topics such as Tibet and Tiananmen. Without a job and determined to stay in Chengdu, she moved in with an artist friend, Yizhong, who soon became her lover.

The safe shelter of her tender relationship with Yizhong allowed her to explore more confidently, develop her vocabulary, and pursue her creative impulses to paint and write in her journal. But even as her Mandarin fluency grew and she settled into a comforting rhythm, as a mixed-race and bicultural woman living in China she ultimately decided she wanted more—choosing a life that would be expansive enough to embrace all of her various identities.

I spoke with Kellor in late July about her debut memoir, her relationship to language, her evolving impressions of China, and having the heart of a seeker…

Read the entire interview here.

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Explaining My Multiracial Identity (So Others Don’t Do It For Me)

Posted in Articles, Autobiography, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, United States on 2021-11-03 22:59Z by Steven

Explaining My Multiracial Identity (So Others Don’t Do It For Me)


Jaya Saxena

Tallulah Pomeroy

Every time someone guesses wrong, I am the one to apologize.

My mom always laughs when remembering how she was mistaken for an Irish nanny when taking me to the park as a baby. This was back when nannies were more likely to be Irish, when interracial marriages were less common, and long before I grew up to look like her in every way but my coloring. Sometimes I try to imagine how that conversation would go—“Excuse me, ma’am, I just wanted to inquire about your race and how it relates to the child you are holding”—and how dim you have to be to not realize a redhead can birth a brunette.

They were always mistaken, and it was our job to correct them; otherwise we’d be lying. She’s American, not Irish. I am biologically hers. My mother is white and I am not. Or I am, and not, at the same time. Other people’s false assumptions about what people can and should look like, about who could possibly exist, became our burden…

Read the entire article here.

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Heart Radical: A Search for Language, Love, and Belonging

Posted in Asian Diaspora, Autobiography, Books, Media Archive, Monographs, United States on 2021-11-03 22:32Z by Steven

Heart Radical: A Search for Language, Love, and Belonging

She Writes Press
253 pages
5.43 x 0.94 x 8.35 inches
Paperback ISBN: 978-1647421731

Anne Liu Kellor

Wanting to understand how her path is tied to her mother tongue, Anne, a young, multiracial American woman, travels through China, the country of her mother’s birth. Along the way, she tries on different roles—seeker, teacher, student, girlfriend, artist, and daughter—and continually asks herself: Why do I feel called to make this journey?

Whether witnessing a Tibetan sky burial, teaching English at a university in Chengdu, visiting her grandmother in LA, or falling in love with a Chinese painter, Anne is always in pursuit of intimacy with others, even as she is all too aware of her silences and separation. For two years, she settles into a comfortable routine in her boyfriend’s apartment and regains fluency in Chinese, a language she spoke as a young child but has used less and less as an adult. Eventually, however, her desire to know herself in other ways surfaces again. She misses speaking English, she feels suffocated by urban, polluted China, and she starts to fall for another man. Ultimately, Anne realizes that to live her truth as a mixed-race, bilingual woman she must embrace all of her influences and layers. In a world that often wants us to choose a side or fit an ideal, she learns that she can both belong and not belong wherever she is, and that home is ultimately found within.

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Identity as a Hall of Mirrors: Descent by Lauren Russell

Posted in Articles, Biography, Book/Video Reviews, History, Media Archive, Slavery, United States on 2021-11-03 22:02Z by Steven

Identity as a Hall of Mirrors: Descent by Lauren Russell

The Rumpus

Jesi Buell (Bender)

Lauren Russell, Descent (Grafton, Vermont: Tarpaulin Sky Press, 2020).

A while back, my husband and I took DNA ancestry tests. When the results come in, they give you a map with circles colored in to indicate where your ancestors came from. My husband’s blue-green circles swallowed almost the entire world. Mine, on the other hand, was a dot above England and Ireland with a small opaque dip down into Germany. One tiny point in the entirety of the world. It reminded me of a Conan O’Brien segment where he did his own test and it came back one hundred percent Irish.

I’m not sure if it was a bit but the technician told him it was a certainty that his family was inbred. Joking aside, it struck me then that how we see ourselves and how we understand the past can be, for some people, as simple as looking into a mirror and, for others, as complicated as walking through a hall of mirrors.

As a biracial woman, Lauren Russell examines her history in Descent through many mirrors, from both personal and cultural memories, and through prose, verse, and historical documents, to better understand herself. The title itself suggests a delving, a digging into, and we join Russell as she explores her family’s past like a new land, like something that has long been buried.

In my high school U.S.
History class, when we
got to the part on the
inhumanity of slave
holders, I said,
“Actually, I am
descended from slave
holders.” For some
reason nobody stated
the obvious: that I am
also descended from

Read the entire review here.

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Posted in Biography, Books, History, Media Archive, Monographs, Poetry, Slavery, United States, Women on 2021-11-03 21:28Z by Steven


Tarpaulin Sky Press
120 pages
6 x 0.4 x 9 inches
Paperback ISBN: 9781939460219

Lauren Russell

In 2013, poet Lauren Russell acquired a copy of the diary of her great-great-grandfather, Robert Wallace Hubert, a Captain in the Confederate Army. After his return from the Civil War, he fathered twenty children by three of his former slaves. One of those children was the poet’s great-grandmother. Through several years of research, Russell would seek the words to fill the diary’s omissions and to imagine the voice of her great-great-grandmother, Peggy Hubert, a black woman silenced by history. The result is a hybrid work of verse, prose, images and documents that traverses centuries as the past bleeds into the present.

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A Long Curving Scar Where the Heart Should Be

Posted in Books, Gay & Lesbian, Media Archive, Novels, United States, Women on 2021-11-03 16:48Z by Steven

A Long Curving Scar Where the Heart Should Be

Stalking Horse Press
376 pages
5.5 x 0.88 x 8.5 inches
Hardback ISBN: 978-0998433974
Paperback ISBN: 978-0998433981

Quintan Ana Wikswo

A searing, sensual novel with photographs, A Long Curving Scar Where the Heart Should Be weaves together southern fabulism and gothic fury, pulling at the restless, volatile threads of seditious American iconoclasts Zora Neale Hurston, Patti Smith, Cormac McCarthy, and Toni Morrison. At this devil’s crossroads of the King James Bible and the Egyptian Book of the Dead emerge the ghosts and realities of sex, race, violence, and hauntingly vulnerable emotion. Quintan Ana Wikswo has written an unforgettable and relentless reinvestigation of the American soul.

A Long Curving Scar Where the Heart Should Be unfolds on the unruly, mixed-race, queer-sexed margins of a conservative 1930s Southern town. In the wake of abandonment by her husband, an impoverished young midwife and her twin daughters create a hospice and sanctuary for the town’s outcasts within a deserted antebellum plantation house. The twins inhabit a fantastical world of ancient resistances, macabre births, glorious deaths, ravenous love affairs, clandestine sorceries, and secret madnesses—a site where the legacies of catastrophic injustice, bigotry, brutality, and grief contend with unquenchable desires for restitution, wholeness, sexual liberty, and lives of freedom outside the chokeholds of racism, misogyny and social constraint. Overshadowed by lingering scandals of miscegenation, the persistence of searing endemic violence, and a troubling secrecy surrounding their father’s disappearance, the women begin to walk into the discomforting limitations of their myths and wounds, and create their own new maps of sexual and personal fulfillment, resilience, and transformation. When the town claims that he is closer than they think, the women must decide whether his reappearance would offer wholeness, or unbearable consequences to their own hardfought, courageous journeys towards existential insurrection.

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Seaweed Soup (Miyuk Gook 미역국)

Posted in Arts, Asian Diaspora, Biography, Media Archive on 2021-11-03 16:28Z by Steven

Seaweed Soup (Miyuk Gook 미역국)

The Rumpus

Maria T. Alloccoo


  • A handful of miyuk (미역) seaweed

My pregnant grandmother walked through miles of man-made bombs in North Korea to reach the south. Once a wealthy woman, she now wore her remaining possessions. A local South Korean woman allowed my grandmother to enter her empty shed. There, my grandmother gave birth to my mother.

The woman made my grandmother 미역국. Fed it to her. It is tradition to serve seaweed soup to new mothers. Also, to loved ones on birthdays. Both birth and survival are miracles…

Read the entire article/recipe here.

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“She is not Métis. She is the modern-day Grey Owl,” Tait said, referring to the famous British-born conservationist from the early 1900s who fooled the world into believing he was a Native American man.

Posted in Excerpts/Quotes on 2021-11-03 15:41Z by Steven

[Caroline] Tait said genealogical records show that [Carrie] Bourassa’s supposed Indigenous ancestors were of Russian, Polish and Czechoslovakian descent.

“There was nowhere in that family tree where there was any Indigenous person,” said [Winona] Wheeler.

Tait was so troubled by what she found that, with the support of Wheeler and others, she compiled the information in a document and submitted formal academic misconduct complaints against Bourassa with the U of S [(University of Saskatchewan)] and the CIHR. In her email to CBC, Bourassa said the U of S complaint was dismissed.

“She is not Métis. She is the modern-day Grey Owl,” Tait said, referring to the famous British-born conservationist from the early 1900s who fooled the world into believing he was a Native American man.

Geoff Leo, “Indigenous or pretender?CBC News, October 27, 2021. https://www.cbc.ca/newsinteractives/features/carrie-bourassa-indigenous.

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Passing: On crossing the color line

Posted in Articles, History, Media Archive, Passing, United States, Videos on 2021-11-03 15:27Z by Steven

Passing: On crossing the color line

CBS Sunday Morning
CBS News

Passing can be a gray area that some biracial or multiracial Americans face when navigating questions of identity and social acceptance, while defining the story we tell about ourselves. “CBS Saturday Morning” co-host Michelle Miller talks with Rebecca Hall, Tessa Thompson and Ruth Negga, the director and stars of the new film “Passing,” and with writers Lise Funderburg and Allyson Hobbs, about the social history of passing, and its impact upon perception and power.

It’s been a theme in Hollywood for years, from “Imitation of Life,” to “The Human Stain.” And off-screen, the subject of “passing” – crossing the color line – is just as complex.

“The world perceives me as White, at least visually,” said Chicago lawyer Martina Hone, who has lived her whole life balancing her Black mother’s identity with her European father’s privilege.

“CBS Saturday Morning” co-host Michelle Miller asked, “Have you ever passed at any point in your life?”…

Read the story here.

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