The Kidnapped Child Who Became a Poet

Posted in Articles, Autobiography, Interviews, Media Archive, Texas, United States on 2023-08-13 02:44Z by Steven

The Kidnapped Child Who Became a Poet

The New York Times Magazine

Wyatt Mason

Shane McCrae Ruven Afanador for The New York Times

At age 3, Shane McCrae was taken from his Black father by his white grandparents — a rupture he explores in a new memoir.

“The weird thing about growing up kidnapped,” Shane McCrae, the 47-year-old American poet, told me in his melodious, reedy voice one rainy afternoon in May, “is if it happens early enough, there’s a way in which you kind of don’t know.”

There was no reason for McCrae to have known. What unfolded in McCrae’s childhood — between a June day in 1979 when his white grandmother took him from his Black father and disappeared, and another day, 13 years later, when McCrae opened a phone book in Salem, Ore., found a name he hoped was his father’s and placed a call — is both an unambiguous story of abduction and a convoluted story of complicity. It loops through the American landscape, from Oregon to Texas to California to Oregon again, and, even now, wends through the vaster emotional country of a child and his parents. And because so much of what happened to McCrae happened in homes where he was beaten and lied to and threatened, where he was made to understand that Black people were inferior to whites, where he was taught to hail Hitler, where he was told that his dark skin meant he tanned easily but, no, not that he was Black, it’s a story that’s been hard for McCrae to piece together.

“My grandparents,” McCrae explained in a somewhat gloomy, book-laden office at Columbia University, where he teaches poetry in its M.F.A. program, “were so actively keeping my father away from me — they didn’t want me to investigate him at all — it was just normal.” Normal, McCrae explained, because the story he had been told by his grandparents was that McCrae’s father, whose name he didn’t even know, abandoned him before he was born. “They had been doing it my whole life,” McCrae said matter-of-factly. “I didn’t think of it as, Oh, this is pretty strange.”…

Read the entire article here.

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Pulling the Chariot of the Sun, A Memoir of a Kidnapping

Posted in Autobiography, Books, Media Archive, Monographs, Texas, United States on 2023-08-13 02:15Z by Steven

Pulling the Chariot of the Sun, A Memoir of a Kidnapping

Simon & Schuster
272 pages
Hardcover ISBN13: 9781668021743
eBook ISBN13: 9781668021767

Shane McCrae

An unforgettable memoir by an award-winning poet about being kidnapped from his Black father and raised by his white supremacist grandparents.

When Shane McCrae was three years old, his grandparents kidnapped him and took him to suburban Texas. His mom was white and his dad was Black, and to hide his Blackness from him, his maternal grandparents stole him from his father. In the years that followed, they manipulated and controlled him, refusing to acknowledge his heritage—all the while believing they were doing what was best for him.

For their own safety and to ensure the kidnapping remained a success, Shane’s grandparents had to make sure that he never knew the full story, so he was raised to participate in his own disappearance. But despite elaborate fabrications and unreliable memories, Shane begins to reconstruct his own story and to forge his own identity. Gradually, the truth unveils itself, and with the truth, comes a path to reuniting with his father and finding his own place in the world.

A revelatory account of a singularly American childhood that hauntingly echoes the larger story of race in our country, Pulling the Chariot of the Sun is written with the virtuosity and heart of one of the finest poets writing today. And it is also a powerful reflection on what is broken in America—but also what might heal and make it whole again.

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‘I didn’t know how much he loved me’: Portland woman searches for college sweetheart 42 years after breakup

Posted in Articles, Media Archive, United States, Videos on 2022-01-07 01:57Z by Steven

‘I didn’t know how much he loved me’: Portland woman searches for college sweetheart 42 years after breakup

KGW News
Portland, Oregon

Katherine Cook, Reporter

Jeannie Gustavson almost gave up on finding her lost love. Then one small break revealed something she never expected.

Most people never forget the one that got away. Maybe they met in college. Perhaps they were a friend of a friend, a neighbor or someone from work. At 68 years old, Jeannie Gustavson has spent most of her lifetime remembering the one who got away, or more accurately, the one she let go.

“He was my first true love. That doesn’t go away,” Jeannie said from her Northwest Portland home.

Fifty years ago, Jeannie and Steve Watts were college sweethearts at Loyola University Chicago.

“He was very handsome,” Jeannie said. “He was 6-foot-4. I like tall guys! He was extremely intelligent, well spoken. He was very caring, he always treated me like a lady. He was a gentleman.”

Even so, Jeannie said none of that would have mattered to her mother, who did not approve of interracial dating. That included Steve, who was Black.

“I was very hurt and very baffled by what my family did and said,” Jeannie said. “We had to keep our relationship a secret.”

Read the entire story here.

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Their interracial romance ended painfully after college. They reunited 42 years later — and now live together.

Posted in Articles, Biography, Media Archive, United States on 2022-01-05 03:16Z by Steven

Their interracial romance ended painfully after college. They reunited 42 years later — and now live together.

The Washington Post

Sydney Page, Freelance Reporter

Steve Watts and Jeanne Gustavson, while they were dating in secret in the 1970s. The couple met in college at a German Club meeting, when Gustavson was a freshman and Watts was a senior. They dated for eight years. (Courtesy of Jeanne Gustavson)

When Jeanne Gustavson spontaneously booked a trip to Chicago last summer, she had no idea what to expect. She was going to visit her first love — whom she had not seen in 42 years.

The last time Gustavson, now 68, spoke to Steve Watts was in the spring of 1979. They were young and in love, but there was one persistent issue: Watts was Black, and Gustavson’s family forbade her to see him.

“They had this mentality that Blacks and Whites don’t belong together,” said Gustavson, who was raised in the northern suburbs of Chicago, and now lives in Portland, Ore. “In my heart, I knew it wasn’t right.”

So, she flouted her family’s strict rule and dated Watts in secret.

Although she did not like disobeying her parents, “I couldn’t let him go,” Gustavson said…

Read the entire article here.

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Crying in H Mart: A Memoir

Posted in Asian Diaspora, Autobiography, Books, Media Archive, Monographs, United States on 2021-05-15 22:40Z by Steven

Crying in H Mart: A Memoir

Knopf (A imprint of Penguin Random House)
256 Pages
5-1/2 x 8-1/4
Hardcover ISBN: 9780525657743
Ebook ISBN: 9780525657750
Audiobook ISBN: 9780593153895

Michelle Zauner

From the indie rockstar of Japanese Breakfast fame, and author of the viral 2018 New Yorker essay that shares the title of this book, an unflinching, powerful memoir about growing up Korean American, losing her mother, and forging her own identity.

In this exquisite story of family, food, grief, and endurance, Michelle Zauner proves herself far more than a dazzling singer, songwriter, and guitarist. With humor and heart, she tells of growing up one of the few Asian American kids at her school in Eugene, Oregon; of struggling with her mother’s particular, high expectations of her; of a painful adolescence; of treasured months spent in her grandmother’s tiny apartment in Seoul, where she and her mother would bond, late at night, over heaping plates of food.

As she grew up, moving to the East Coast for college, finding work in the restaurant industry, and performing gigs with her fledgling band–and meeting the man who would become her husband–her Koreanness began to feel ever more distant, even as she found the life she wanted to live. It was her mother’s diagnosis of terminal cancer, when Michelle was twenty-five, that forced a reckoning with her identity and brought her to reclaim the gifts of taste, language, and history her mother had given her.

Vivacious and plainspoken, lyrical and honest, Zauner’s voice is as radiantly alive on the page as it is onstage. Rich with intimate anecdotes that will resonate widely, and complete with family photos, Crying in H Mart is a book to cherish, share, and reread.

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Palmer Patton recognized as earliest identified African American graduate, faculty member at Oregon State

Posted in Articles, Campus Life, History, Media Archive, Passing, United States on 2020-03-07 03:06Z by Steven

Palmer Patton recognized as earliest identified African American graduate, faculty member at Oregon State

OSU Today
Oregon State University

Theresa Hogue, Public Info Representative

Palmer Patton

Oregon State University archivist Larry Landis was leafing through a 1919 Beaver Yearbook in 2018 as he did research on representations of blackface in old university publications. As he looked for examples, he came across a yearbook photo of a student who appeared to be African American.

As the director of the Special Collections & Archives Research Center, Landis knew that officially, Carrie Halsell was considered the earliest identified African American graduate of Oregon State (at that time Oregon Agricultural College) in 1926. But the man in the photos, Palmer Patton, graduated from OAC with his bachelor’s degree in 1918 and a master’s degree in 1920. Landis investigated further.. He combed the university archives, online historic newspapers, and even accessed information through his personal account. He also made inquiries with archives at other universities – Montana State University, UC Davis and the University of Chicago – all of which provided or confirmed information on Patton. He spent part of an afternoon in the archives at Montana State while in Bozeman for a conference.

“Over the course of several months I pieced together Palmer Patton’s story,” Landis said. “The end result is a story of someone who was most likely bi-racial, who identified as white at times, and who was able to navigate through places and spaces that were predominantly white.”…

Read the entire article here.

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Why Young Men of Color Are Joining White-Supremacist Groups

Posted in Articles, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, United States on 2018-10-21 15:07Z by Steven

Why Young Men of Color Are Joining White-Supremacist Groups

The Daily Beast

Arun Gupta

Photo Illustration by The Daily Beast

Patriot Prayer’s leader is half-Japanese. Black and brown faces march with the Proud Boys. Is the future of hate multicultural?

PORTLAND, Oregon—Outfitted in a flak jacket and fighting gloves, Enrique Tarrio was one of dozens of black, Latino, and Asian men who marched alongside white supremacists in Portland on Aug. 4.

Tarrio, who identifies as Afro-Cuban, is president of the Miami chapter of the Proud Boys, who call themselves “Western chauvinists,” and “regularly spout white-nationalist memes and maintain affiliations with known extremists,” according to the Southern Poverty Law Center. Last month, prior to the Patriot Prayer rally he attended in Portland, Tarrio was pictured with other far-right activists making a hand sign that started as a hoax but has become an in-joke. Last year, Tarrio said traveled to Charlottesville, Virginia, for the Unite the Right rally that ended with a neo-Nazi allegedly killing an anti-fascist protester. (The Proud Boys said any members who went to the event were kicked out.)

Tarrio and other people of color at the far-right rallies claim institutional racism no longer exists in America. In their view, blacks are to blame for any lingering inequality because they are dependent on welfare, lack strong leadership, and believe Democrats who tell them “You’re always going to be broke. You’re not going to make it in society because of institutional racism,” as one mixed-race man put it…

Read the entire article here.

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Exploring Classification of Black-White Biracial Students in Oregon Schools

Posted in Dissertations, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, Teaching Resources, United States on 2017-01-25 20:55Z by Steven

Exploring Classification of Black-White Biracial Students in Oregon Schools

University of Oregon
December 2012
145 pages

Deana M. James

Presented to the Department of Educational Methodology, Policy, and Leadership  and the Graduate School of the University of Oregon in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy

Multiracial children constitute one of the fastest growing racial groups in the United States. However, biracial children, in particular Black-White biracial children, often are not recognized in the educational system. For instance, the current classification of Black-White biracial students in the state and federal educational systems is not disaggregated and does not allow for analyses of educational outcomes for this population. Not only is this population invisible in state education data, the demographic data at the school level often fail to represent this population. Not acknowledging multiple heritages dismisses the identity and experiences of students who are multiracial and thus symbolically negates a part of who they are. Additionally, multiracial students may be classified in a single category by administrators for the purposes of schools and funding. This study offers the perspective of administrators and current state and federal policies on this issue as applied to Black-White self-identified children and describes the complexities and relevance of addressing multiracial policies in educational systems. An ecological theoretical framework is used to explore four research questions in this area. Data were collected from seven school district administrators across Oregon through semi-structured interviews and document analysis. Relationships in the data between responses and procedures from the seven sampled school districts are examined. Results suggest that across the seven school districts in this study, implementation of the policies and procedures of racial and ethnic categorization varied substantially. Furthermore, even though this revised race and ethnicity reporting policy was in part created to more accurately represent the multiracial population, it may actually be obscuring the multiple identities of these students. Detailed policy implications are discussed in further details in the Conclusions chapter.

Read the entire dissertation here.

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Race In The Northwest: Hood River Man Learns His Family’s Surprising Truth

Posted in Articles, Audio, Autobiography, Health/Medicine/Genetics, Media Archive, Native Americans/First Nation, United States on 2016-12-08 02:58Z by Steven

Race In The Northwest: Hood River Man Learns His Family’s Surprising Truth

Oregon Public Broadcasting

Anna Griffin, News Director

Hood River writer and cidermaker John Metta.
Anna Griffin/OPB

Hood River, OregonJohn Metta grew up thinking of himself as mixed race: His mother was white. His father’s side of the family proudly proclaimed themselves a blend of African-American and Native American.

“Actually, I grew up always being the Indian kid at school,” he said. “I have pictures of myself in like fourth and fifth grade, and my hair was dead straight parted in the middle. I looked like the typical Native American.”

The family wasn’t entirely clear on where that Native American element entered the mix — someone at some point had spent time on the Seneca reservation in Western New York. Still, they embraced their native side…

…A few years ago, Metta’s sisters got curious about precisely which tribes and parts of the country their relatives came from. They asked an uncle to swab his cheek and had the sample tested. How much Native American blood did they find?…

Read the entire article here.

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This mixed race family didn’t ‘see color.’ Then police said a white supremacist killed their son

Posted in Articles, Law, Media Archive, United States on 2016-10-21 20:05Z by Steven

This mixed race family didn’t ‘see color.’ Then police said a white supremacist killed their son

The Oregonian

Casey Parks

A banner hanging above the couch proclaims it a house divided.

“But only when it comes to football,” Natasha Bruce said.

When it came to race, the old wood house in Vancouver, Wash. was a safe space. She was the lightest in every family photograph, a white mom married to a black dad. Together, they raised four kids, each with their own mix of ethnicities and football allegiances.

“You can’t hate a race because you’re all of them,” Natasha Bruce told the kids. “Unless it’s red and gold or blue and green, we don’t see color.”

But other people do.

In August, their youngest died after a hit-and-run that prosecutors now consider a hate crime. Larnell Bruce Jr. was 19 years old, black and Latino. Police say a couple with ties to white supremacist gangs argued with Bruce outside a Gresham convenience store — and then chased him with their jeep as he walked away, running him down…

Read the entire article here.

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