This zine is a collection of short stories, memoirs, drawings, and critical essays that examine the mixed-race label and explores what it means to identify as a specific race at the cost of “erasing” the other parts of oneself. It isn’t an easy read, and it’s not supposed to be; it is a mixture of academic terms we might find in gender studies courses and of personal reflections, or testimonios. The concept of “new racism” is unpacked here, which is described as the history of internalized racism “we face in trying to undo damage done by assimilation in generations past, the racism that negates our right to self-identify and prevents others from seeing us the way we want to be seen, the way we see ourselves.”
The painful theme of answering, “soooo, what are you?” comes up in almost every writer’s story.
Not being enough of one race, or being too much of another is a constant battle. The state of being in flux is a reality mixed-race people of color endure, and we really witness this in these stories. It is hard to describe the tokenism and racial violence when we are seen as one race or color, but also simultaneously seen as a fraud when viewed through the eyes of someone else.
The privilege of having people see you the way you want to be seen is something that is hard to express to people who are not mixed race people of color. This zine explores what it’s like when you don’t have that, the constant quest to have your identity validated, a battle against erasure.
The beauty of the writers is in their abilities to slide in and out of identities, either by choice or through others’ inclusions and exclusions, and through a diverse range of storytelling, we experience this gift.