Excerpts from The Space Between by Herb Harris

Posted in Articles, Autobiography, Biography, Identity Development/Psychology, United States on 2024-06-07 21:23Z by Steven

Excerpts from The Space Between by Herb Harris

CRAFT: Exploring the Art of Prose

These excerpts from Herb Harris’s memoir, The Space Between, form one of two pieces picked as an editors’ choice selection for the 2023 CRAFT Memoir Excerpt & Essay Contest. Our editors chose work that demonstrates the unlimited vibrancy and scope of creative nonfiction.

Mirrors and reflections appear throughout these outstanding memoir excerpts from Herb Harris. In a setting as innocuous as a local barbershop, Harris strikes out on a journey not only to assess his own identity, but also to examine how he is perceived by the world around him—no matter how disorienting that quest might prove. Harris opens the piece: “I must begin by telling you that I am Black.” He makes this declaration in the space between pride and confession. By focusing on hair and optical illusions, he affirms that identity is not a singular concept; it is many selves—mirrored individuals and slightly altered reflections—that compose a person and make them who they are and who they will become.

Recognizing simplicity as a tool to dissect multigenerational issues is one of the many strengths Harris displays in his writing. Innocent details such as ear wiggling, hair clippings scattered on the floor, and “bottles containing mysterious liquids and powders” open the essay to larger themes of racial identity, belonging, and the bleak injustices foundational to a country built upon slavery. A simple haircut or catching your own image in a mirror might be infinitely more complex than expected. Herb Harris discovers that a reflection takes many forms, including a tool to prosecute the long chronicle of cultural erasure pervasive in the United States. —CRAFT


I must begin by telling you that I am Black. This is a very strange thing to have to say out loud. It is usually something self-evident that goes without saying. But my light skin and blur of African and European features are rarely recognized as Black.

This racial ambiguity reflects many generations of mixed heritage that go back to the beginning of the slave trade. My ancestors were both the enslaved and the enslavers who sexually exploited them. I have many white ancestors, but their identities are almost entirely unknown. These perpetrators and their victims still live inside me, where their violent entanglement continues. I am an outlier among people who identify as Black, but most of Black America has some degree of white ancestry. This painful heritage is an aspect of slavery that is seldom discussed, but the white man is among the foremost absent fathers of history.

My family has lived on the edge of the color line for more than three centuries. This dangerous neighborhood has always been my home. In my childhood, the color line was like a concrete wall topped with barbed wire and brutally policed on both sides. Still inviolable, it is now drawn in the shifting sands of culture, fashion, and opinion. The wind blows, and I cross it without moving. I am constantly guilty of these motionless transgressions.

How do I know who I am? Almost everything we know about ourselves comes to us through the eyes of others. Throughout our lives, other people are the psychological mirrors that inform us as we work to figure out who we are. Our identities are manifested in the gazes of others. We are revealed in their attitudes and actions. Unfortunately, what they show us is always distorted and fragmented. We must build a collage of ourselves from the reflections we see in our families and communities. Too soon, we enter a society afflicted by the pathology of race. We are no longer seen as individuals but as racist projections, delusions, and hallucinations. We become objects in the white gaze and begin a lifelong battle to defend our identities from its withering effects.

I had to search for clues about who I am among looks of confusion, perplexity, and skepticism. I learned to read the most subtle signs to know how others identified me. My racial camouflage often makes me invisible, but race keeps finding new ways to blindside me with contradictory messages. My first consciousness of race began in a Black preschool in the early 1960s. My best friend, David, compared my light brown skin to his dark brown skin and proudly announced that he was Black and I was white. Suddenly, I felt like an outsider, different from all my classmates. Living in a segregated community, I had never seen a white child before, and I had no idea what David meant. But later, in a predominantly white elementary school, a classmate called me a nigger. I don’t know how I knew the meaning of this word, but it triggered an anger I had never felt before.

W. E. B. Du Bois called it “double-consciousness, this sense of always looking at one’s self through the eyes of others.” Who do I see reflected in the warped and broken mirrors of our race-obsessed culture? What do I mean when I say that I am Black?…

Read the entire excerpt here.

Tags: , , , , ,

Are You a Mixed Race Poet?

Posted in Autobiography, Family/Parenting, Identity Development/Psychology, Wanted/Research Requests/Call for Papers on 2024-05-30 02:26Z by Steven

Are You a Mixed Race Poet?

Namalee Bolle

I’m writing a book called The Mixed + Multiracial Guide to Wellbeing: Navigating Family + Identity + Healing and I’m looking for unpublished poems about mixed race identity to showcase in the book. Poets will also have the opportunity to be interviewed and talk about their work.

If this is of interest or if you would like more information, please contact Namalee at namaleebolle@gmail.com.


2024 Critical Mixed Race Studies Association Conference

Posted in Anthropology, Asian Diaspora, Census/Demographics, Forthcoming Media, Identity Development/Psychology, Live Events, Social Science, United States on 2024-03-22 02:17Z by Steven

2024 Critical Mixed Race Studies Association Conference

OSU Union
Ohio State University
Columbus, Ohio
2024-06-13 through 2024-06-15

Welcome to the 7th biennial Critical Mixed Race Studies Conference, taking place both virtually and in person at The Ohio State University (OSU) in the OSU Union. We are hosting the conference during the week of Loving Day, the anniversary of the June 12, 1967 Loving v. Virginia U.S. Supreme Court decision that struck down remaining laws banning interracial marriage. The conference will also concurrently take place during Columbus, Ohio’s Pride weekend. In this spirit, we can mobilize love as an act of radical resistance against white supremacy and forms of intersectional oppression. Within the structure of white supremacy, people identified or identifying as multiracial or mixed have often been placed in “liminal spaces,” or forced to navigate between two or more worlds, identities, and places that are at times conflicting. It is for this reason that we center the idea of liminality or “betwixt and between,” as a productive space from which to form solidarities and foster a “beloved community.”

Within Critical Mixed Race Studies, “betwixt and between” holds meaning as the title of the longest running college course on multiracial identity, taught by the late G. Reginald Daniel (aka “Reg”), Professor of Sociology at University of California, Santa Barbara. The idea of multiracial people living “betwixt and between” was also debated in his groundbreaking text, More Than Black? Multiracial Identity and the New Racial Order. While we wish to elevate and honor Reg’s life and scholarship by centering liminality, the framing can also be limiting. Therefore, we invite expansive thinking around questions of “betwixt and between” toward liberating our emerging field of study. We suggest this liberation could happen through solidarity and in or through beloved community. Borrowing from the late bell hooks in Killing Rage: Ending Racism, the “transformative power of love” can be wielded to cultivate cross-racial solidarities amongst ourselves as “beloved community [which] is formed not by the eradication of difference but by its affirmation, by each of us claiming the identities and cultural legacies that shape who we are and how we live in the world. To form beloved community we do not surrender ties to precious origins. We deepen those bondings by connecting them with an anti-racist struggle.”

For more information and to register, click here.

Tags: ,

Are You Mixed-Race? Are Both of Your Biological Parents Also Mixed-Race?

Posted in Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, United States, Wanted/Research Requests/Call for Papers on 2024-01-09 02:31Z by Steven

Are You Mixed-Race? Are Both of Your Biological Parents Also Mixed-Race?

Desiree McConn, Clinical Psychology doctoral student
Wright Institute, Berkeley, California


My name is Desiree McConn and I am a Clinical Psychology doctoral student at the Wright Institute in Berkeley, California. I am seeking participants for my dissertation research.

The purpose of this study is to better understand the identity development and racial experiences of mixed-race/multiracial people whose parents are both also mixed-race/multiracial.

Participants must be:

  • Ages 18 to 35
  • Mixed-race (multiracial) and have parents who are also both mixed-race, biracial, or multiracial.
  • Fluent in English.
  • Willing to meet for a 60-90-minute interview (via secure Zoom) and be able to discuss experiences of race/ethnicity in childhood, with family, and in adulthood.


Participation is confidential and voluntary. If you are interested or would like more information, please contact:

Desiree McConn, M.A.
(510) 629-1437

Dissertation Chair: Sahil Sharma, Psy.D. (ssharma@wi.edu)
This study has been approved by the Wright Institute IRB. (Reference #: 12.20.2023.01)

Tags: , ,

Do You Identify as Mixed Race, Mixed Heritage, Biracial or Multiracial?

Posted in Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, United Kingdom, Wanted/Research Requests/Call for Papers on 2023-08-28 02:55Z by Steven

Do You Identify as Mixed Race, Mixed Heritage, Biracial or Multiracial?

University College London, London, United Kingdom

Kay-Lee Walker (BSc, Msc), 2nd Year Trainee Clinical Psychologist, DClinPsy

Have you ever accessed mental health support? Are you comfortable sharing your experiences? We want to hear from you!

Why Take Part?

Identity and accessing mental health support are thought to be complex for people from multiracial backgrounds, but not much is known about the direct experiences. We invite people who identify as multiracial to participate in this study and share their experiences.

Who can?

Any person who…

  • is aged 16-25.
  • Self-identifies as belonging to any mixed-race, biracial or multiracial background.
  • Has accessed any mental health support (NHS, private, charities or education settings). All experiences are welcome.
  • Willing to discuss experiences related to identity and mental health support.

What should I expect?

A one-to-one online interview with the researcher lasting 60-90 minutes.

This is a research interview, not a clinical space. Taking part is confidential and voluntary. You can withdraw at any time.

UCL has ethically approved this research study. ID: 24845/001

Tags: , ,

I Would Meet You Anywhere, A Memoir

Posted in Asian Diaspora, Autobiography, Forthcoming Media, Identity Development/Psychology, United States on 2023-06-09 17:04Z by Steven

I Would Meet You Anywhere, A Memoir

Mad Creek Books (an imprint of Ohio State University Press)
248 pages
5.5 x 8.5 inches
Paperback ISBN: 978-0-8142-5883-5

Susan Kiyo Ito

Growing up with adoptive nisei parents, Susan Kiyo Ito knew only that her birth mother was Japanese American and her father white. But finding and meeting her birth mother in her early twenties was only the beginning of her search for answers, history, and identity. Though the two share a physical likeness, an affinity for ice cream, and a relationship that sometimes even feels familial, there is an ever-present tension between them, as a decades-long tug-of-war pits her birth mother’s desire for anonymity against Ito’s need to know her origins, to see and be seen. Along the way, Ito grapples with her own reproductive choices, the legacy of the Japanese American incarceration experience during World War II, and the true meaning of family. An account of love, what it’s like to feel neither here nor there, and one writer’s quest for the missing pieces that might make her feel whole, I Would Meet You Anywhere is the stirring culmination of Ito’s decision to embrace her right to know and tell her own story.

Table of Contents

  • Preface
  • Part 1
    • I Would Meet You Anywhere
    • Go for Broke
    • The Place I Came From
    • Not a Japanese Girl
    • Searching
    • One of These Things Is Not Like the Other
    • What Do You Need?
    • A Small Crime
    • What I Did Over Spring Break
    • I Would Meet You at the Holiday Inn
  • Part 2
    • Your Mother Is Very Nice
    • The Mouse Room
    • Totaled
    • Lucky
    • I Would Meet You in a Hospital
    • Long-Lost Daughter
    • Just a Bee Sting
    • Dairy Queen
    • I Would Meet You at a Wedding
    • Origami
    • Undertow
    • Guest Room
    • Separation
    • Like a Heartbeat
  • Part 3
    • A Small Hole
    • Spit
    • I Would Meet You at the Ferry Building
    • I Had an Aunt
    • Got OBC?
    • Look at the Baby
    • The Most Japanese Person in the Family
  • Epilogue
  • Acknowledgments
Tags: , , ,

ARE YOU MIXED-RACE? Are you Biracial, Multiracial, or have biological parents of two or more races?

Posted in Identity Development/Psychology, United States, Wanted/Research Requests/Call for Papers on 2023-03-29 21:49Z by Steven

ARE YOU MIXED-RACE? Are you Biracial, Multiracial, or have biological parents of two or more races?

Tessa Nalven, M.A., Clinical Psychology Doctoral Candidate
University of Rhode Island


This is a research study about the experiences of young adults in the United States, whose biological parents are two or more races (Multiracial). It is being conducted by Tessa Nalven and Dr. Nichea Spillane at the University of Rhode Island (URI) and is IRB-approved. The following questions will help us determine if you are eligible to be in the study and should take 3-5 minutes to complete.

For more information, click here.

Tags: , ,

‘I Am Latino, I Am Also White’: Why A Latino Of Mixed Ancestry Struggles Each Time He Fills Out A Form

Posted in Articles, Autobiography, Census/Demographics, Identity Development/Psychology, Latino Studies, United States on 2023-03-19 03:08Z by Steven

‘I Am Latino, I Am Also White’: Why A Latino Of Mixed Ancestry Struggles Each Time He Fills Out A Form


Thomas Lopez

At a Rose Parade float display, Thomas Lopez compares profiles with our first president. (Courtesy of Thomas Lopez)

“Mr. Lopez, we need you to turn in the form declaring your son’s race,” said the administrator from my son’s school.

In second grade, we transferred him to LAUSD from his parochial school and filed the necessary stack of paperwork, save one form. That was the statement of racial identity.

It wasn’t intentional, just an honest mistake. But it wasn’t one the school would easily overlook. They called my wife and me individually to obtain the form.

Completing this form was not easy. My son is multiracial — Black, white and Native American. I too am multiracial white and Latino. My wife and I are Mexican American…

Read the entire article here.

Tags: , , , , ,

Identity Wars: Mixed Separatists v. Black Gatekeepers

Posted in Articles, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, United States on 2023-03-19 02:48Z by Steven

Identity Wars: Mixed Separatists v. Black Gatekeepers

Mixed Auntie Confidential

TaRessa Stovall

Does this fight or fuel racism?

A growing trend has Mixed-race Separatists on one side, insisting that we have to identify ONLY as Mixed or we’re criticized as “One-Droppers” for refusing to separate our Mixedness from our Blackness, and rejected as problematic, inauthentic enemies of “true” Mixed identity.

On the other side, there’s a growing number of young Black folks—seemingly mostly women—who proudly self-identify as Gatekeepers. They’re adamant that Mixed-Black people aren’t Black, can’t call themselves Black, and aren’t welcome in Black spaces. This gatekeeping includes Mixed-Black people who very much identify with Black culture and community…

Read the entire article here.

Tags: ,

That Time I Clapped Back at Langston Hughes

Posted in Articles, Autobiography, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, United States on 2023-03-13 03:34Z by Steven

That Time I Clapped Back at Langston Hughes

Mixed Auntie Confidential

TaRessa Stovall

Me at age 3

Even as a child, I balked at the stereotype of the Tragic Mulatto.

It didn’t make sense to me.

And I straight-up resented its implication: that my existence was tragic and my whole life worthless because I was “this close to” but not completely white.

Neither I nor any of the Mixed folks I grew up with seemed the least bit miserable about our ancestry or identities.

I was a young “bookworm”—today I’d be called an avid reader—regularly devouring the works of many fine poets and authors including Langston Hughes, who was one of my favorites…

Read the entire article here.

Tags: , ,