do y’all know weareallmixedup? so many awesome mixed experiences being shared over there! it’s super interesting, complex, and validating, y’all.
do y’all know weareallmixedup? so many awesome mixed experiences being shared over there! it’s super interesting, complex, and validating, y’all.
hayyyy folks yr editors here, ready to break out radio-silence with some sizzlin’ summer updates!
AUTHORS: Zine editors Lil Lefkowitz, Lee Naught & Lior and contributors to “Mixed Up!”
PUBLISHED: April 24, 2013
NOTE FROM LIOR TO POCZP:
Thanks so much for your email, and for uploading Mixed Up to your Issuu. We’d love it if you made the zine available in whatever way you feel like! So totally feel free to post the printable, so folx can make and distribute their own. And, of course, if you wanna make copies and sell them, by all means!
READ ‘MIXED UP!’ NOW
POCZP’s mission is to make zines by people of color easy to find, distribute and share. In that spirit, we’ve added a readable version online that you can also download, courtesy of the “Mixed Up!” editors.
ORIGINAL ‘MIXED UP!’ CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS
Hey, mixed-race folks, how do you respond when you get asked what you are? Do you feel at a loss for words when trying to describe your racial, ethnic, or cultural background? Do you find yourself struggling to understand where you belong in the context of prominent racial paradigms? Do you run into a POC-white binary that is reductive, incomplete, or simply not enough? What does it mean that there often isn’t an easy answer? And what happens when you add gender, feminism, and queerness into the mix?
Hey, queers and feminists, let’s respond to the lack of representation of mixed-race folks like us. Yes, we are deeply indebted to the countless beautiful queers and feminists of color who have demanded to be heard; who fight, survive, and die on a daily basis. We are indebted to colonized people and feminists of color around the world and in the states who have taught us that black and brown are beautiful; who have shown us how to act with compassion and love and thoughtful rage in the face of white supremacist violence. This zine is a call to continue this work; to build upon the work of anti-racist and decolonial literature, given the nuances of our lives as mixed-race queers and feminists, so often living on stolen land while refusing to forget the land stolen from our ancestors.
No doubt, racism against folks of color is fucking real, and those of us who are mixed race and sometimes or always pass as white are much less prone to the multiple forms of violence faced by black and brown folks. However, too often, that’s the end of the conversation. This zine strives to challenge the narrow conception of POC vs white, a binary which doesn’t allow space for many folks’ experiences or for more complex identities (even among POCs and white folks).
As mixed-raced queers and feminists, we refuse to whitewash our histories. We refuse to label individuals based solely upon our perceptions of their skin color or features. Colonialism attempts to whitewash, erase, assimilate and subjugate through violence and oppression. We refuse to finish this work. We invite you to collectively participate in this refusal.
A Working Definition of Mixed-race: While this may not be the perfect term, we are using it to frame a very broad set of experiences and identities, which may include tracing all or part of one’s culture or heritage to brown people and colonized people, inclusive of all skin tones. This may also include being raised with multiple cultures or with immigrant experience.
Why Queers & Feminists? Not only are we interested in the ways that mixed-race folks’ identities interact with queerness and feminism, but we also believe that it is important to prioritize stories from queers and feminists, whose voices are often marginalized. Moreover, with a topic as broad as race, we want to anchor our discussions in some common politics. This anchor is important because it is a big part of how we (the editors) choose who to organize with, live with, form community with, fuck, and, in this case, write zines with.
Possible Topics: Privilege. [Not] Passing. Sex, relationships & dating. Conflicting and conflated identities (especially related to race and queerness, transness, feminism, class, dis/ability). The POC/white binary. Cultural appropriation. Structural and institutional oppression. Art, music & creativity. [Not] Belonging. Cultural estrangement. Immigrant experiences. Families & histories. Colonizing processes in family, work, activisms & relationships. Being too brown/not brown enough. Home. Diaspora. Performing identities. Physical manifestations of race, and intersection with other forms of identity and presentation. Preserving and paying respect to heritage & history (eg: interviews, oral histories, folklore). Remembering. Tracing origins and roots. The importance of race/ethnicity/culture to political formation. Mixed-race community. Food & recipes. Remedies. Developing new language(s). Race/religion overlap (and exclusion). And much, much more.
Media and formats: Poetry, prose, essay, visuals (B&W for zine, possibly color online), audio (for online), interviews, and other formats (pitch them to us!— we’re good catchers).
Deadline for submissions: Extended to January 15th, 2012. Submit to mrqfzine [at] gmail [dot] com.
mrqfzine [at] gmail [dot] com
HELP DISTRIBUTE ‘MIXED! UP’ ZINE
Download a read-only and a PRINT version here, courtesy of the ‘Mixed Up!’ zine editors.
SUPPORT POC ZINE PROJECT
If everyone in our community gave $1, we would more than meet our fundraising goal for 2013. If you have it to spare, we appreciate your support. All funds go to our 2013 tour, the Legacy Series and the poverty zine series.
DONATE link via PayPal: http://bit.ly/SHdmyh
POC Zine Project spotlighted us, check it out! <333
We hope you’ve enjoyed our online submissions/ zine teasers. We’re closing with this amazing online submission by Hannah Cristina — you can find more of Hannah’s work in the hard-copy of Mixed Up!
Don’t forget to come to the release of Mixed Up! tomorrow, NYC folks.
To the “You” Who is White
The words I’ve heard always bounce around my head – especially in times of sadness. During those times, I smoke too many cigarettes because my body is the first thing I want to punish. It always comes back to the body, you know. No matter how far the prisoner’s mind wanders, the bars will always be there to contain the body. Maybe it’s cliché to picture my skin and hair and flesh as a steel cage. Maybe it’s ridiculous to envision the words I’ve heard as a solid block of titanium, a key-less lock, choking the bars together. But I am so stuck.
Here we have a twenty-one year old, blackish-brown, boyish-girl themed performance style, part time stoned-butch blues singer and songwriter. You can tell by the way I stand. “Look at those lips.” See, some things didn’t come from my momma. My body is thin and dark – a perfect combination of desire and fear - two sides of the same coin. I’m tired of carrying that shit around in my pocket. Tired of flipping it every time I come into this existence. You know, the one made from steel.
And they do look at these lips. It makes their mouths water.
It makes my stomach sick, sometimes.
I thought I was the only one that could see my mouth in my peripheral. The wrong lips because they were so big. And then, I saw their mouths wet with wanting, sticky like gum trees. They wanted to consume my existence, make me a part of their exotic fantasies. Milky fingers on a chocolate surface – like sugar rain they fell around me, and melted. I can whisper sweet songs of blackness into your ear. Lines rehearsed like hymns. You know, those same psalms they taught my ancestors. And when my tongue has climbed to your highest peak and you have carved bloody lines on my back, I have finally mastered you. Even if only for a split second while your most prized possession lies between my teeth, in that moment, I am free. My lips become your lungs. See, you do need me.
This “split second” embodies my split sense of being: irrevocably essential as any amount of time is, yet horrifically excluded and eternally alone. I live for those hair-width amounts of time, the last drop of blood that makes an official “rush.” Because as soon as you can breathe without my mouth, the air you pull in and push out is foggy with those words again. Go ahead, ask me what kind of brown I am, and no, it’s not a very original question. Trust me, you’re not the first to inquire. I forgot that you couldn’t see me in that split second when I was free, when I un-noosed those bars and climbed outside. Your eyes were closed, remember? Remember when you needed me?
I escaped my body through yours. I escaped those words you always say, the way you paint my authenticity with ugly brown faces and asses shaking up and through my self-image. No, I do not live for men but I will live with and beside the ones who also think there is a better way. Yes, I do listen to hip-hop, and no, I don’t call myself or my people that word. And sometimes, I can escape the facts that make me “less” or “more” black, if just for an instant. Other times, they consume me. You always did love a good feast.
NYC Event release is this upcoming Wednesday! Yes!
Don’t forget to check us out on Monday for the final contribution to our online teaser/submission series, and all you NYC folks come to the release, yeah!
Funny Kind of Girl
By Morgan Melendres Mentz
My great-grandmother is one of the most independent, strong-willed, and inspired women I have ever known. So it broke my heart today to see her vulnerable and fragile trapped inside a 98 year old body that is beginning to dissipate. How should I react to seeing her eyes flooded with tears as she asks me to pray for her death so she might be released from this corporeal prison? The reality of losing the family matriarch and my closest friend brought me to my knees. As unrealistic as it seems I have not allowed myself to accept the truth that our weekly visits and shared insights would eventually end one day.
Its not that we have a romanticized matrilineal bond in fact at times I’ve always felt excluded from favor being that I amhapa and not a “pure bread” as my uncle commented once. Due to this fact however instead of seeing me as a great-granddaughter she has confided certain things to me as a friend that she has kept secret to others in my family. My incessant questions and genuine intrigue are what navigate our weekly conversations. Hoping that beneath each exciting or benign tale of her past I will be able to unveil a small treasure of wisdom that I can take with me along my own path of life.
A tomboy who was constantly rebelling against gender norms and breaking the rules on her Issei father’s plantation in Hawai’i during the 1920s, my great-grandmother roamed her childhood world with a free spirit. As a youth on the islands she dictated her own reality climbing trees, rolling in the volcanic earth, and refusing to learn domestic chores. Always the protector my Grama Evelyn would come to her younger sister Betty’s rescue when teased by the local boys, “I would fight them! Troublemaker I was.” she would say with a tempered voice reminiscent of her defiant youth. The oldest of four she was ambitious and fortunate to get a scholarship to an all girls boarding school in Honolulu during a time when female education in the Nikkei community was not valued. At school she befriended a young girl who, “was a fast kind of girl, brave I should think, always running around with boyfriends and telling us sex kind of things” such things that ironically were no interest to her during a time of hormonal transformation and swelling urges.
Always motived on her own endeavors heteronormative ideas of dating were of little concern to her until she met Howard Yoshino, a slick talking and attractive Nisei man nearly ten years older than her. They would eventually marry but, “He was a flirt! And no good at business things. I always handled the money, but he could talk the kind Japanese that I couldn’t, you know pigeon kind.” Frustrated with his infidelity my Grama would eventually leave him and take their three children to California hoping he would straighten out. Unfortunately, he died of a stroke a few months later in the home of his mistress. A widow and now single parent Grama Evelyn decided to stay in California and build up a real-estate business that would create great success and allow her to make new male friends many of whom would propose to her only to be let down each time with rejection.
Curious by this fact I could never understand why anyone would want to remain alone for the span of such a long lifetime as hers. Than a glimpse of an answer revealed itself to me sitting on her couch one afternoon when she nonchalantly asked, “Do you like sex?” Caught off guard and feeling flustered thinking it was a trick question to get an answer about my sexual ambiguity I replied, “Yes, so long as it is with someone who I feel connected and safe with.” This was a simple cop-out answer because I didn’t think she would understand my own frustration with constantly having to define my sexuality as a queer celibate woman. “I never liked it, I don’t understand what the big fuss is? Everywhere is sex sex sex! You know I didn’t want to have children either, and asked the Doctor to fix me up but he said, ‘No Evelyn you gonna have these babies.’ So I did what the doctor said.” Explosions of disbelief boomed inside my brain but my lips remained silent. How could I respond? It became clear as to why she never remarried. Never enjoying sex and afraid to be forced to carry more children by being denied reproductive rights. I thought of my own sexual history and how Planned Parenthood had been a frequent stop for free birth control, condoms, and gynecological check-ups. I remember a Saturday afternoon sophomore year in high school when I took a close girlfriend to get an abortion and felt seething anger as we passed angry white middle aged male protestors in the parking lot. As if this experience wasn’t difficult enough she did not deserve to be shamed or shouted at for taking control over her own body. But to be denied the option all together by a physician whom you trust with your body helped me to remember the importance of preservation and protection of such rights.
Knowing she never enjoyed sex or knew the elated feeling of safely exploring sexuality in a sacred space with a lover in 98 years of life was heartbreaking. To not experience the pleasure of releasing your body in ecstasy, entangled in the warmth of another as I felt for the first time with my high school girlfriend. Sam, a mestiza and stud who played on the football team tackled my heart and captured me for over three years. Our relationship allowed me to explore self-determination within my own sexual fluidity that I had not experienced in previous relationships. At a family birthday party Grama Evelyn expressed her liking of Sam, but saw her as a “funny kind of girl” and always addressed her as my special friend but never my partner. I wonder if Grama ever saw a bit of herself in Sam with her tenacity and nonconformity to gender norms as a youth. Would she have explored life differently if given the space to venture outside of the heteronormativity within the home of her Issei parents?
The freedom of safe exploration and self-determination in defining ones own sexuality at the intersections of racial identity seemed to be an experience lost on her that would also tragically impact one of her children as well. My great uncle Steve, an attractive and “sweet young boy” as Grama Evelyn describes him cut his own life short through the barrel of a gun. In his room gay pornography and other signs suggesting Uncle Steve was also a queer person of color like myself seemed to be the cause of his fatal decision. This is a silent event that rarely gets discussed in my family and as a result new stories have emerged to take its place such as “the cops must have shot him and covered it up, because he was an oriental man” as Grama Evelyn tells herself avoiding the responsibility of not recognizing the pain he was going through. Her grief from his loss still fresh even after four decades makes me pause and reflect on the innumerable silenced stories of queer persons of color that have been forced to leave a world that they felt had no place for them.
As a queer hapa that openly challenges the misogynist white hegemony in all aspects of daily life I am aware of the blessings I possess to exist in the time and place I am in. I sit and look at my great-grandmother from the edge of her bed once tenacious and now tiny and fragile ready to soon depart from me and I remind myself of her experience and the legacy that she has given me. This woman before me that has experienced the deepest pains a mother and wife could know endured betrayal, loss, and misogyny so I might exist as a dear friend at her bedside today whispering a quiet promise to always be truthful to myself and walk with integrity. I vow to her to be unafraid to define my own sexuality in this racially ambiguous body and to build on the strength that she has placed inside my heart so I may set a new foundation for my own grand daughters to one day explore their world with pride and love.