Tamarind Sky, a Novel

Posted in Asian Diaspora, Books, Canada, Media Archive, Novels on 2021-07-21 20:52Z by Steven

Tamarind Sky, a Novel

Inanna
2020-10-15
412 pages
Paperback ISBN: 978-1-77133-733-5
ePUB ISBN: 978-1-77133-734-2
PDF ISBN: 978-1-77133-736-6

Thelma Wheatley

When British immigrant Selena Jones marries Aidan Gilmor, a Sinhalese-Eurasian — part British — from Sri Lanka in the 1960s in Toronto, a passionate clash of culture ensues. Selena’s mother in Wales is horrified when Selena brings Aidan home to Wales for the wedding. Back in Toronto, Selena faces further prejudice and disapproval of her “mixed marriage,” despite Pierre Elliott Trudeau’s new “multiculturalism,” which was being encouraged but also resented. She is shocked not only by the reaction of neighbours but by the teachers at the all-White school in Toronto where she teaches, and she pretends that Aidan is a White Canadian. When two poor West Indian and two East Indian children from a new government housing project nearby unexpectedly arrive at the school, Selena is forced to take a stand in their defence. Gradually she learns to face her fears and confront racism. She is drawn into a deeper understanding of her Sri Lankan family, and especially of her father-in-law, a former tea planter under the British, who left Ceylon after Independence in 1956. She sees the effect of colonialism on Aidan and his family, trying to be “British” while caught in the middle of the civil war conflict in Sri Lanka. The revelation of her father-in-law’s secret guilt about the past leads to an inevitable and shocking climax.

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Raptors GM draws on mixed upbringing in building team’s post-Kawhi Leonard identity

Posted in Articles, Asian Diaspora, Canada, Media Archive, United States on 2019-11-20 01:29Z by Steven

Raptors GM draws on mixed upbringing in building team’s post-Kawhi Leonard identity

The Washington Post
2019-11-19

Ben Golliver, NBA Reporter


“I don’t think I look super Asian or white,” said Toronto Raptors General Manager Bobby Webster, who became the NBA’s youngest GM when he was appointed in 2017. “Being both was freeing.” (Chris Young/The Canadian Press/Associated Press)

LOS ANGELES — When Bobby Webster took the stage as a guest speaker at the U.S.-Japan Council’s annual conference earlier this month, the moderator introduced him as a world champion and a hapa.

The first label was self-evident: Webster is the Toronto Raptors’ general manager, a low-key strategic planner and salary cap specialist who reports to Masai Ujiri, the organization’s brash, larger-than-life president.

The second term — a Hawaiian phrase that means “part” and refers to people of mixed race — described Webster’s Japanese-American background. Webster’s mother, Jean, descended from Japanese immigrants who came to work in the stables at a Hawaiian sugar plantation around the turn of the 20th century. Webster’s father, Bob, a redheaded Chicago native, moved to Hawaii in his late 20s and never left…

Read the entire article here.

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Three Things the Jewish Community Can Do Better, According to a Mixed-Race Jewish Professional

Posted in Articles, Canada, Interviews, Judaism, Media Archive, Passing, Religion on 2019-05-24 20:42Z by Steven

Three Things the Jewish Community Can Do Better, According to a Mixed-Race Jewish Professional

My Jewish Learning
2018-05-23

Ruth Abusch-Magder, Education Director and Rabbi-in-Residence
Be’chol Lashon


Tema Smith

Tema Smith’s own experiences as a mixed race person shape her vision as a Jewish professional.

Tema Smith is often mistaken for white, but this mixed-race Jew is proud of both her Bahamian and Ashkenazi roots. She is also one of a growing number of Jews of color who are making careers in the Jewish world. We met up with Smith to learn about her professional life and personal experience and to hear what advice she has for Jewish institutions.

Be’chol Lashon: Tell us about your job.

Smith: I am the Director of Community Engagement at Holy Blossom Temple in Toronto, Canada’s largest Reform congregation. Not only do I ensure that the basics of synagogue life, like becoming a member and connecting with the community, are smooth, but it is also my responsibility to keep the door wide open for prospective members. It also includes creating partnerships in the community and making connections more broadly…

…Be’chol Lashon: Does being mixed-race play into the work you do at Holy Blossom?

Smith: Being mixed-race has always given me a broader perspective on the work I do. I came into this work as someone who had only been an observer, and not as someone who grew up in the Jewish community, which has made me attuned to the experiences of those who are new to the community. As I mentioned before, the fact that we were not part of Toronto’s Jewish community had a lot to do with our family’s racial makeup. This makes me especially aware of the barriers to participation that people face and pushes me to work harder on inclusion, which is what we need to do to ensure the Jewish future as the demographics shift and we become more multicultural and multiracial. I find that my position as both an insider and outsider to Jewish life lets people open up to me. I am upfront about my identity, coming from both an interfaith and an interracial family. Because of that, I’ve noticed that it is not uncommon for people to share information about their lives that they are not sure the synagogue would welcome knowing, like their own faith journey or lack of observance.

Additionally, because I pass as a white Jew, I am able to walk into communal spaces and challenge some of the assumptions of who the Jewish community insiders are. My very existence often breaks down stereotypes of who we imagine to be a committed or engaged Jew…

Read the entire interview here.

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Sorry Music Journalists, Drake is Black.

Posted in Articles, Arts, Canada, Communications/Media Studies, Judaism, Media Archive, Religion on 2019-03-15 17:58Z by Steven

Sorry Music Journalists, Drake is Black.

Canadaland
2015-04-30

Kyrell Grant

Drake, born Aubrey Graham in a city where almost one in ten people are black, is black. Toronto’s greatest civic triumphalist since Jane Jacobs is black. And yet Drake’s own identity – his nationality, his mixed race background that includes Jewish heritage and upbringing, the neighbourhood he once lived in, the schools he went to – is often taken to mean that his black experience is somehow inauthentic.

It feels ridiculous to have to say this: Drake is black.

Drake, born Aubrey Graham in a city where almost one in ten people are black, is black. Toronto’s greatest civic triumphalist since Jane Jacobs is black.

He is a black man as much as any other black man. And yet Drake’s own identity – his nationality, his mixed race background that includes Jewish heritage and upbringing, the neighbourhood he once lived in, the schools he went to – is often taken to mean that his black experience is somehow inauthentic. While certainly not the first artist to have this kind of analysis imposed on him, Drake’s profile means that his art in particular has been prominently used to deny his black experience when it doesn’t conform to someone else’s narrow vision of race…

Read the entire article here.

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Mixed in the Six pop-up events created to support multiracial Torontonians

Posted in Articles, Asian Diaspora, Canada, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, Social Science on 2017-01-08 00:28Z by Steven

Mixed in the Six pop-up events created to support multiracial Torontonians

The Toronto Star
2017-01-03

Erin Kobayashi


Mixed in the Six, is a pop-up event aimed at building a community for multi-racial Torontonians. (Cole Burtan/Toronto Star)

An event for the off-spring of mixed-race families hits a chord as the difficult to ‘identify’ find their people.

I am eating a Singaporean and Peranakan-inspired dinner with people who look like my family more than my actual family.

The night before, I sat down to a proper English roast with my mother’s family that is dominated by blue eyes, blond hair and pale skin, a striking contrast to my Japanese-Canadian father’s side of the family.

But here at Mixed in the Six, a Toronto pop-up dining and social event held at Peter Pan Bistro, the more than 40 attendees look like variations of me: Strong, dark hair. Skin that doesn’t burn in the sun. And despite vastly different backgrounds spanning from Jamaica and Norway to Finland and Singapore, every guest is well-versed in the Toronto mixed-race experience. We’ve all felt the invasive gazes and heard tired, othering questions like, “Where are you from?”…

…“People have shared with us that they feel a sense of belonging and acceptance at MIT6,” says Oades. “That feeling of not being, for example, ‘black enough or white enough’ seems to dissolve when you get to connect with other people who have had similar experiences as you.”

Professor G. Reginald Daniel, who edits the Journal of Critical Mixed Race Studies, both based out of the University of California, Santa Barbara, understands mixed-race events are naturally fun and exciting but he hopes young attendees recognize the legal, physical and psychological struggles and trauma older multiracial generations have gone through. For example, the U.S. law against interracial marriage was only outlawed in 1967.

And while MIT6 guests often cheekily gush over one another’s attractiveness (many attendees happen to work as models, actors and performers), Daniel hopes mixed-race millennials don’t get caught up in a strictly superficial multiracial discourse.

He notes how the mainstream media has latched onto the “happy hapa,” “magical mixie,” “happy hybrid,” “racial ambassador,” and “post-racial messiah” stereotypes of multiracial individuals that are dangerous because they portray “overenthusiastic images, including notions that multiracial individuals in the post-Civil rights era no longer experience any racial trauma and conflict about their identity.”…

Read the entire article here.

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What’s in a name? Exploring the employment of ‘mixed race’ as an identification

Posted in Articles, Canada, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, Social Science, Women on 2013-04-03 03:48Z by Steven

What’s in a name? Exploring the employment of  ‘mixed race’ as an identification

Ethnicities
Volume 2, Number 4 (December 2002)
pages 469-490
DOI: 10.1177/14687968020020040201

Minelle Mahtani, Professor of Geography and Journalism
University of Toronto

In the last 20 years, we have witnessed an explosion in scholarship and popular media accounts about the experience of ‘mixed race’ identity. Despite the increasing numbers of people who now identify as ‘mixed race’, relatively little research has been conducted on how ‘mixed race’ individuals consider this particular label of identity. Through qualitative, open-ended interviews with self-identified women of ‘mixed race’ living in Toronto, this article interrogates attachments to the identification of `mixed race’. The article begins by examining the popular discourse surrounding `mixed race’ identity, suggesting that the public imaginary positions the ‘mixed race’ woman as ‘out of place’ in the social landscape. It then explores how many women create cartographies of belonging by identifying as `mixed race’, reading the label as a `linguistic home’. It can provide a way to identify outside of constraining racialized categories of identity. The article also points out that many of the same women in this study effectively challenge, contest and discard the identification, dependent on a myriad of factors.

Read or purchase the article here.

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POWER: Post-racial Canada still a dream

Posted in Articles, Canada, Media Archive, Social Science on 2013-03-18 17:33Z by Steven

POWER: Post-racial Canada still a dream

The Chronicle Herald
Halifax, Nova Scotia
2013-03-17

Megan Power

And we’re reluctant to face it, says Hill

Calling Canada a multicultural paradise is simply delusional, says author Lawrence Hill.
 
He made his comments prior to a public reading in Halifax last week, in which he was candid and forthright about the state of race relations in Canada. He doesn’t agree with Toronto Life magazine’s high-profile March cover story—the feature describes his book Black Berry, Sweet Juice as “quaint”—which proclaims Toronto the first post-racial city and declaring the end of single ethnicity status in the country’s megalopolis.
 
I detest that idea. I find it quite repulsive. … It’s just not true. Ask a thousand black students in high schools across Canada if they’ve escaped the challenges of race and I’m pretty sure that 995 of them will tell you absolutely not. I feel that it’s kind of self-serving and self-congratulatory to talk about a post-racial world.
 
“I’m not talking about myself. I’ve had a very fortunate life. But I’m not convinced that many black kids in society today are living in a post-racial world. Acting as if Toronto is some nirvana and everybody is happy and mixed, I think, is a slide into la la land.”…

…Hill was in town to give two readings at the Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21. The morning session featured a reading from Black Berry, Sweet Juice: On Being Black and White in Canada, his 2001 non-fiction book about racial identity. The afternoon session featured his blockbuster, prize-winning novel The Book of Negroes (2008)….

Read the entire article here.

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An evening wtih Lawrence Hill

Posted in Canada, Live Events, Media Archive on 2013-02-19 01:44Z by Steven

An evening wtih Lawrence Hill

Central YMCA
20 Grosvenor Street
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Thursday, 2013-02-21, 18:30-21:00 EST (Local Time)

RSVP Deadline: 2013-02-19

Join us for an evening celebrating Black History Month with renowned Canadian author, Lawrence Hill.

Lawrence Hill has written a number of award winning books including The Book of Negroes….

For more information, click here.

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A new mixed-raced generation is transforming the city: Will Toronto be the world’s first post-racial metropolis?

Posted in Articles, Canada, Media Archive, Social Science on 2013-02-12 23:13Z by Steven

A new mixed-raced generation is transforming the city: Will Toronto be the world’s first post-racial metropolis?

Toronto Life
2013-02-12

Nicholas Hune-Brown, Author

Kourosh Keshiri, Photography

Interviews by Jasmine Budak

I used to be the only biracial kid in the room. Now, my exponentially expanding cohort promises a future where everyone is mixed.

Last fall, I was in Amsterdam with my parents and sister on a family trip, our first in more than a decade. Because travelling with your family as an adult can be taxing on everyone involved, we had agreed we would split up in galleries, culturally enrich ourselves independently, and then reconvene later to resume fighting about how to read the map. I was in a dimly lit hall looking at a painting of yet another apple-cheeked peasant when my younger sister, Julia, tugged at my sleeve. “Mixie,” she whispered, gesturing down the hall.

“Mixie” is a sibling word, a term my sister and I adopted to describe people like ourselves—those indeterminately ethnic people whom, if you have an expert eye and a particular interest in these things, you can spot from across a crowded room. We used the word because as kids we didn’t know another one. By high school, it was a badge of honour, a term we would insist on when asked the unavoidable “Where are you from?” question that every mixed-race person is subjected to the moment a conversation with a new acquaintance reaches the very minimum level of familiarity. For the record, my current answer, at 30 years old, is: “My mom’s Chinese, but born in Canada, and my dad’s a white guy from England.” If I’m peeved for some reason—if the question comes too early or with too much “I have to ask” eagerness—the answer is “Toronto” followed by a dull stare…

…For today’s mixies, growing up multiracial has meant inner debates about which parent to identify with, how to explain one’s back­ground, and coping with the urge to blend in. Rema Tavares, a half-Jamaican 30-year-old with curly hair and light brown skin, says her looks have provoked strange responses in people. “I’ve had someone say to me, ‘Don’t say you’re black because you don’t have to be. You can get away with it!’ ” She was raised in a small town outside Ottawa and gradually moved to bigger and bigger cities. “I hated being the only person of colour on the bus in my hometown,” she told me. Another mixed-race woman, Alia Ziesman, grew up in Oakville and was so ashamed of her mother, an ethnically Indian woman from Trinidad, that she refused to walk on the same side of the street as her. Ziesman and Tavares and everyone else I spoke to agree that it is a pleasure to be in a city like Toronto today—a place where you’re guaranteed not to be the only coloured face on a city bus…

Minelle Mahtani, a U of T associate professor, is one of the pre-eminent Canadian authorities in the field, and has just written a book on multiraciality in Canada. Mahtani has long, dark hair, a toothy smile and a collection of features that are impossible to place on a map. When she was growing up in Thornhill, people would guess at her background without ever hitting on the actual mix, Iranian and Indian. “As a kid, I was one of the few minorities in my neighbourhood, and there was pressure to acclimatize to whiteness” she says. When I met her in a café near U of T in December, she had recently come back from the second Critical Mixed Race Studies Conference at DePaul University in Chicago, a four-day exploration of race and racial boundaries that also acts as a place for mixed-race academics from across North America to hang out and share nerdy in-jokes about the successful 1967 challenge to Virginia’s anti-miscegenation laws

…The reality of being mixed is far more complicated. The Pew study didn’t reveal a world where skin colour is irrelevant: a newlywed Hispanic-white couple will earn more than the average Hispanic couple, yes, but less than the average white couple. The same is true of black-white pairings. What’s also clear is that mixing doesn’t happen evenly. The success of Asian-white couples like my parents can be attributed to a number of things, but the fact that immigration laws often hand-pick the wealthiest, most educated, most outward-looking Asians is surely part of it. It’s easy to imagine a future in which upwardly mobile Asians and whites mix more frequently, while other minorities are left out of a trendy mixed-race future. Marriage across racial lines is increasingly possible, but mixing across class has always been tricky. And class, it goes without saying, remains stubbornly tied to skin colour…

Read the entire article here. View the photo-essay here.

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Faces In Between: Art About Mixed-Race Identity

Posted in Arts, Audio, Canada, Media Archive, Women on 2013-02-03 07:25Z by Steven

Faces In Between: Art About Mixed-Race Identity

CBC
Here and Now Toronto
2013-02-01

Throughout history, artists have drawn upon their own experience to fuel their work. Tonight, a new exhibit explores mixed race identity from the point of view of three young women. Rema Tavares is one of the artists. She spoke about “Faces In Between.”

Listen to the episode (00:06:14) here.

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