Friday, November 17, 2006

Beyond FICTION: MIXED: AN ANTHOLOGY OF SHORT FICTION ON THE MULTIRACIAL EXPERIENCE

This one is going to the top of my wish list. Editor Chandra Prasad, author of works ranging from the Outwitting the Job Market guide to the forthcoming novel On Borrowed Wings has put together an impressive collection of short stories by new as well as established writers in Mixed. Prasad, a Yale graduate who’s of Indian, Italian, Swedish, and British descent, wisely chose to include personal insights from contributing authors regarding not only the stories at hand, but the impact of their “mixed” heritages on their lives and writings. Contributors include Danzy Senna as well as Prasad and a long list of writers with unique perspectives on the many issues inherent in living “the multiracial experience.”

A release about this anthology states that Mixed contributors “give voice to the multiple identities of a rising generation.” This idea of multiple identities remains so intriguing to me; as our country becomes more diverse, people who may look like they ought to fit certain stereotypes are going to break out of those stereotypes as a matter of course, befuddling all those who insist on hanging onto such stereotypes. And what better way to explore such shifting realities than through stories? There remains limited fiction in print regarding the challenges faced by people of mixed-race or cross-cultural heritage. Let’s hope the publication of Mixed paves the way for many more novels and short-fiction anthologies written to explore the realities of lives that are indeed “mixed” in so many ways.

7 Comments:

Blogger Both Eyes Wink said...

"On Borrowed Wings" is an interesting title. Do you know what the topic is?

12:18 PM  
Blogger Sustenance Scout said...

According to Prasad’s site, it’s a story based in the “male-dominated world of 1930s Yale” told by “an unlikely female narrator.” The book's due out from a Simon & Schuster imprint in June 2007. One to look for. K.

4:48 PM  
Blogger gerry rosser said...

I took on a pro bono case about the time I retired which involved an issue of multi-racial concern. Government forms usually listed several specific categories, as in white, black, asian, hispanic (maybe some more) and the catch-all "Other." Another example of the pitfalls of grouping people by "race." A lot of issues came to my awareness during my reading/researching for the case. Like the "one-drop rule," and other such crap. My client's child (or maybe the child was my client) was multi-ethnic (I prefer it to "multi-racial" because I recognize only one race), and schools insist on having entry forms include "race" and the mother left it blank rather than check off "Other." At first I thought, "You, know, get over it." She persuaded me to know better. Our case was kicked by federal court for lack of standing, and our appeal went nowhere. I learned a lot even if I didn't help much.

I list my ethnicity, if it ever comes up (and tongue-in-cheek, of course), as "white bread." That's the kind of community I grew up in. It doesn't imply negatives like "red neck" or other exclusionary things when I use it, but covers the sort of bland western european blandness I perceived (bland food, bland ideas, bland cars, etc., etc.). My stereotype for this group is eating a baloney sandwich on white bread with Miracle Whip.

6:03 AM  
Blogger Matt said...

Seems like it will be a great read, I personally can't stand the old ideas about stereotypes and race. Were all unique human beings and should be treated and understood as that. Thanks for a great post and I will check that book out as well. :)

6:21 AM  
Blogger Sustenance Scout said...

Gerry and Matt, thanks for stopping by. Interesting story about that case, Gerry. I've run into a few folks at book club discussions of my book who have a hard time with my argument that racial/ethnic issues deserve more than a "get over it" response. At the same time, I understand the initial reaction and the desire to get beyond all this. I'm glad that parent...and many others like her...insisted on pursuing her case. K.

5:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here is a link to Chandra'a web site with On Borrowed Wings summary. Sounds very interesting.

http://www.chandraprasad.com/On_Borrowed_Wings.php

11:56 AM  
Blogger Patry Francis said...

Loved exploring her site, and will definitely look for the book. This is important and necessary stuff. Thanks, K!

3:04 PM  

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