Mixed race women speak out [Review]

Mixed race women speak out [Review]


May Lui

Other Tongues: Mixed Race Women Speak Out by Adebe De Rango-Adem and Andrea Thompson, eds.(Inanna Publications, 2010)

In the past 20 years Canada has seen a few mixed race anthologies that reflect both the time, place and language that we use to talk about being of mixed heritage and the many complicated social locations this takes us to. The first and the groundbreaking, was Miscegenation Blues: Voices of mixed-race women edited by Carol Camper and published in 1991 [1994]. Ten years later I was fortunate to be part of the editorial team for the journal Fireweed’s issue 75, the Mixed Race issue, published in 2002.

Other Tongues collection of personal essays, poetry and visual art is an excellent addition to the body of writing already out there. In a nice circular way that happens sometimes, Carol Camper wrote the introduction. All these years later, most of the issues are the same, but hearing the experiences of women in their 20s and 30s is heartening, even as they bring sadness and frustration at how little has changed.

The pieces are all short to very short, with the longest piece at around six pages and the average length about two pages long. This is one of the anthology’s strengths as it can show the breadth and range of experiences as well as the vast array of how women have dealt with / coped with / celebrated what their racial identity means to them in the context of Canada and the U.S., where the majority of the contributors live.

There is no mistaking the power of speaking our own stories: having mixed race women naming our struggles within and between our families, who often force us to deny parts that they deem shameful. Whether that’s the parent of colour’s family and existence, or how that’s linked to working class roots, or the naming of one’s identity by others, another continuing theme throughout the collection…

Read the entire review here.

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