Waking from Mixed Dreams

Waking from Mixed Dreams

Mixed Dreams: towards a radical multiracial/ethnic movement

Nicole Asong Nfonoyim-Hara

Let me begin, if I may, by introducing this rather belated post with the powerful words of some scholars, poets, writers, and activists to set our scene:

“American history is longer, larger, more various, more beautiful, and more terrible than anything anyone has ever said about it–and that it belongs to him [the black child]. I would teach him that he doesn’t have to be bound by the expediencies of any given administration, any given policy, any given morality; that he has the right and the necessity to examine everything.” (James Baldwin)

“It is in this space that we will find those words with which we can speak of Ourselves and Others. And by exploring this hybridity, this ‘Third Space’, we may elude the politics of polarity and emerge as the others of our selves.” (Homi Bhabha)

“The effect of mass migrations has been the creation of radically new types of human being… people
who have been obliged to define themselves–because they are so defined by others– by their otherness; people in whose deepest selves strange fusions occur, unprecedented unions between what they were and where they find themselves… To see things plainly you have to cross a frontier.” (Salman Rushdie “Imaginary Homelands”)

To survive the Borderlands
you must live sin fronteras
be a crossroads. (Gloria Anzaldua- full poem at the end of the post)

I’ve been feeling a lot like an oyster these past couple of years, working out, mulling over, rubbing painfully up against a little grain– an irritant– that made its way suddenly into my pristine little shell (although, perhaps, it had always been there). Now bear with me, I promise this image will (hopefully) make sense by the end of this.

I began this blog back in 2009 as a response to a very particular moment in our ever-shifting, ever-challenging social terrain in the U.S. That moment was what I liked to call the time “We-Drank-That-Postracial-KoolAid-And-Almost-Died”. It was a time of short-lived, but heady hope for a new America in the wake of President Obama’s historic 2008 win. To that point, there are actually some really interesting reflections out there on how the visceral reaction against the post-racial moment (of which I was very much a part) in its fervor actually obscured the possibility that a particularly important and valid desire was being articulated. A desire, that perhaps, prematurely and albeit naively, declared itself into a celebratory daze despite all obvious evidence to the contrary…

Read the entire article here.

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