Other Tongues: Mixed-Race Women Speak Out (review) [McKibbin]

Posted in Articles, Book/Video Reviews, Canada, Media Archive, United States, Women on 2012-11-12 22:29Z by Steven

Other Tongues: Mixed-Race Women Speak Out (review) [McKibbin]

University of Toronto Quarterly
Volume 81, Number 3, Summer 2012
pages 704-705
DOI: 10.1353/utq.2012.0140

Molly Littlewood McKibbin

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

DeRango-Adem and Thompson’s new collection of the artistic, autobiographical, and scholarly work of almost seventy women performs the important task of bridging the gap between late twentieth-century mixed-race writing and more contemporary work. Their text demonstrates the changes multiracial discourse has undergone and is undergoing. Other Tongues addresses the important concerns that dominated multiracial discourse in North America in the final decades of the twentieth century, which, as the contributions illustrate, are still quite relevant to the experiences of both older and younger multiracial women. Prominent recurring themes include belonging; racial inclusion and exclusion; identity formation; racism; physical appearance; the continuing prevalence of the ‘what are you/where are you from?’ question; the relationships between race, culture, and ethnicity; and the relationship of ‘colour’ to whiteness. Although some writers do not further these issues beyond what earlier collections have already done, others take them up in ways that renew older ideas with fresh perspectives. Many contributions touch on issues that are central to ongoing multiracial discourses, including gender, sexuality, class, migration, transracial adoption, single parenting, families consisting of multiracial parents, the rhetoric of ‘post-racialism,’ and the impact of Barack Obama as a public figure.

As Amber Jamilla Musser argues, race is ‘all about context,’ and this collection makes a concerted effort to include work arising out of many different contexts. Through contributors from a large variety of racial and ethnic backgrounds working in a range of genres – including autobiographical essays, narrative sketches, poetry, drama, scholarly essays, and visual art (unfortunately not printed in colour) – Other Tongues offers diverse voices that explore multiracial experience in North America (a necessarily limited geographical region, as the editors acknowledge). The exclusive engagement with women’s voices is, the editors explain, the result of a commitment to the goals of women’s studies. But while Carol Camper’s preface (itself rather troubling in its uncritical adoption of conventional notions of authenticity) signals DeRango-Adem and Thompson’s debt to her 1994 collection of women’s writing, Miscegenation Blues: Voices of Mixed Race Women, and while the desire to offer a forum in which women’s voices can be heard is clear, the absence of men’s experiences is at times a notable lack. Since multiracial discourse is in many ways a product of critical race theory and, consequently, is dependent on the ‘storytelling’ of racialized individuals as a way of approaching matters of race, the absence of male contributors seems limiting. While the editors’ choice is made explicit, the collection is presented in a way that suggests it is quite straightforwardly a text grappling with multiracialism that happens to include only women. Since contemporary North American multiracial theory, scholarship, and cultural production have never been dominated by men, there is no immediately apparent reason to focus on women to the exclusion of men.

However, the most significant feature of the volume is that it exhibits clearly the complicated set of variables that affect the experiences and identities of racialized figures, and several of the contributions are especially insightful. The blend of contributors of different ages and from different class, educational, regional, and cultural backgrounds aids the project of multiracial discourse, which is perhaps best defined by its heterogeneity. This collection is helpful since the importance of hearing a variety of voices is essential for resisting the homogenizing process of racialization in North American society. As Jackie Wang explains, ‘I write because I believe that it means something, because I have a story, although it is not the story,’ and, indeed, the multitude of ‘stories’ in Other Tongues demonstrates the differences within ‘mixed race’ even as it identifies similarities.

Although the content of the book does not really break new ground, the editors foster an unusual dialogue between their contributors that emphasizes the important links among ‘real life,’ art, politics, and the academy. A strength of the collection is that because it…

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Mixed race women speak out [Review]

Posted in Articles, Book/Video Reviews, Media Archive, Women on 2011-04-17 02:15Z by Steven

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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Other Tongues: Mixed-Race Women Speak Out

Posted in Anthologies, Books, Canada, Gay & Lesbian, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, Poetry, United States, Women on 2010-12-29 22:00Z by Steven

Other Tongues: Mixed-Race Women Speak Out

Inanna Publications
November 2010
250 pages
ISBN-10: 1926708148
ISBN-13: 978-1-926708-14-0

Edited by

Adebe De Rango-Adem (Adebe D. A.)

Andrea Thompson

This anthology of poetry, spoken word, fiction, creative non-fiction, spoken word texts, as well as black and white artwork and photography, explores the question of how mixed-race women in North America identify in the twenty-first century. Contributions engage, document, and/or explore the experiences of being mixed-race, by placing interraciality as the center, rather than periphery, of analysis. The anthology also serves as a place to learn about the social experiences, attitudes, and feelings of others, and what racial identity has come to mean today.

Adebe De Rango-Adem recently completed a research writing fellowship at the Applied Research Center in New York, where she wrote for ColorLines, America’s primary magazine on race politics. She has served as Assistant Editor for the literary journal Existere, and is a founding member of s.t.e.p.u.p.—a poetry collective dedicated to helping young writers develop their spoken word skills. Her poetry has been featured in journals such as Canadian Woman Studies, The Claremont Review, Canadian Literature, and cv2. She won the Toronto Poetry Competition in 2005 to become Toronto’s first Junior Poet Laureate, and is the author of a chapbook entitled Sea Change (2007). Her debut poetry collection, Ex Nihilo, will be published in early 2010.

Andrea Thompson is a performance poet who has been featured on film, radio, and television, with her work published in magazines and anthologies across Canada. Her debut collection, Eating the Seed (2000), has been featured on reading lists at the University of Toronto and the Ontario College of Art and Design, and her spoken word CD, One, was nominated for a Canadian Urban Music Award in 2005. A pioneer of slam poetry in Canada, Thompson has also hosted Heart of a Poet on Bravo tv, CiTr Radio’s spoken word show, Hearsay. In 2008, she toured her Spoken Word/Play Mating Rituals of the Urban Cougar across the country, and in 2009 was the Poet of Honour at the Canadian Festival of Spoken Word.

Table of Contents (Thanks to Nicole Asong Nfonoyim)

  • Acknowledgements
  • Preface – Carol Camper
  • Introduction – Adebe DeRango-Adem and Andrea Thompson1
    • Enigma – Andrea Thompson
    • Blond- Natasha Trethewey
    • Mixed- Sandra Kasturi
    • pick one – Chistine Sy and Aja
    • My Sista, Mi Hermana – Phoenix Rising
    • little half-black-breed – Tasha Beeds
    • “White Mask” – Jordan Clarke
    • “Nothing is just black or white” – Jordan Clarke
    • Roll Call – Kirya Traber
    • What Am I? – Marijane Castillo
    • Casting Call: Looking for White Girls and Latinas – D.Cole Ossandon
    • Conversations of Confrontation – Natasha Morris
    • “why i don’t say i’m white”- Alexis Kienlen
    • “Confession #8” – Mica Lee Anders
    • “Other Female” – Mica Lee Anders
    • “MMA and MLA” – Mica Lee Anders
    • The Pieces/Peace(is) in Me – monica rosas
    • Generation Gap (Hawaiian Style) – ku’ualoha ho’omanawanui
    • The Incident that Never Happened – Ann Phillips
    • In the Dark – Anajli Enjeti-Sydow
    • ananse vs. anasi (2007) – Rea McNamara
    • Contamination-  Amber Jamilla Musser
    • A Mixed Journey From the Outside In – Liberty Hultberg
    • What Are You? – Kali Fajardo-Anstine
    • One Being Brown – Tru Leverette
    • One for Everyday of the Week – Michelle Lopez Mulllins
    • Savage Stasis – Gena Chang-Campbell
    • The Half-Breed’s Guide to Answering the Question – M. C. Shumaker
    • My Definition – Kay’la Fraser
    • Pop Quiz – Erin Kobayashi
    • Melanomial – Sonnet L’Abbe
    • half-breed – Jonina Kirton
    • “Inca/Jew” – Margo Rivera-Weiss
    • Open Letter – Adebe DeRango Adem
    • Prism Woman – Adebe DeRango-Adem
    • Southern Gothic – Natasha Trethewey
    • The Drinking Gourd- Miranda Martini
    • Reflection – Jonina Kirton
    • “Untitled” White Sequence – Cassie Mulheron
    • “Untitled” Black Sequence – Cassie Mulheron
    • Mapping Identities – Gail Prasad
    • Whose Child Are You? – Amy Pimentel
    • From the Tree – Lisa Marie Rollins
    • My sister’s hair – ku’ualoha ho’omanawanui
    • I, too, hear the dreams – Peta Gaye-Nash
    • Learning to Love Me – Michelle Jean-Paul
    • A Conversation among Friends – Nicole Salter
    • The Combination of the Two – Rachel Afi Quinn
    • “Loving Series: Elena Rubin” – Laura Kina
    • On the Train – Naomi Angel
    • Coloured – Sheila Addiscott
    • Of Two Worlds – Christina Brobby
    • What is my Culture? – Karen Hill
    • mo’oku’auhau (Genealogy) – ku’ualoha ho’omanawanui
    • Siouxjewgermanscotblack [cultural software instructions] – Robin M. Chandler
    • “Loving Series: Shoshanna Weinberger” – Laura Kina
    • A Hairy Situation – Saedhlinn B. Stweart-Laing
    • “Pot Vida” – Margo Rivera-Weiss
    • Songs Feet Can Get – Rage Hezekiah
    • Opposite of Fence – Lisa Marie Rollins
    • Applique – Lisa Marie Rollins
    • Blanqueamiento – Adebe DeRango-Adem
    • The Land – Farideh de Bossett
    • Native Speaker: Daring to Name Ourselves – Nicole Asong Nfonoyim
    • Colour Lesson I – Adebe DeRango-Adem
    • Concealed Things – Adebe DeRango-Adem
    • Serendipity – Priscila Uppal
    • “Ultramarine” – Margo Rivera-Weiss
    • before i was this – Katherena Vermette
    • Firebelly – Andrea Thompson
    • From Chopsticks to Meatloaf and Back Again – Jasmine Moy
    • My Power – Sonnet L’Abbe
    • Whitewashed – Kathryn McMillan
    • Actually, I’m Black – Marcelite Failla
    • “Self” – Lisa Walker
    • Grey (A Bi-racial Poem) – Sonya Littlejohn
    • Nubia’s Dream – Mica Valdez
    • both sides – Jonina Kirton
    • Mulatto Nation – Marika Schwandt
    • Colour Lesson II – Adebe DeRango-Adem
    • racially queer femme – Kimberly Dree Hudson
    • mypeople – Ruha Benjamin
    • My Life in Pieces – Jennifer Adese
    • Burden of Proof: From Colon-Eyes to Kaleidoscope – Angela Dosalmas
    • Recipe for mixing – Tomie Hahn
    • Metamorphosis – Gena Chang-Campbell
    • The Land Knows – Shandra Spears Bombay
    • Land in Place: Mapping the Grandmother – Joanne Arnott
    • “I am the leaf, you are the leaf” – Lisa Walker
    • Language and the Ethics of Mixed Race – Debra Thompson
    • Hybrid Identity and Writing of Presence – Jackie Wang
  • Contributors Notes
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