Published (V) and an Awesome Update

This year is my second year published in my university’s Expressions Magazine, a literary/arts magazine representing minorities on campus. The issues keep getting better and better, and I have more pieces in it this year! Yes! There are some pieces you guys may recognize, such as “Girl at Mirror” and “Enough.” I decided to submit those two poems. I also submitted a poem called “Living with Depression” that I will upload on here eventually, and a short story called “What Are You?” which I will upload as well. It’s a really good semester, being published a lot. I’m really proud of myself.

I’m also proud of being part of an ongoing project called The 100% Mixed Show. It’s a YouTube channel that accepts video submissions about various people from around the world growing up mixed race. Other videos on there about questions about mixed race heritage are on their channel as well. Here is my submission, if you would like to check it out: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pxzcxsLHRpc. Also, check out other people’s stories! And, if you would like to submit, the guidelines are right here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bVRQ4g2YU98 (if you’re worried about editing, they can edit it for you).

I’m gonna make a post about another publication, which you will have to find out more about by reading that post once it’s out.

It’s been a pretty good few weeks.

Whitewashing in Entertainment

My friend Adriana made a blog post about this topic a while back, particularly regarding the Pan movie if you’d like to take a look at it, it’s great! Here’s the link: https://thecinemasoloist.wordpress.com/2015/10/01/why-is-hollywood-not-understanding-that-whitewashing-is-bad-for-business/

Before Thanksgiving, I went to go see my university’s production of Rent. It was well put together, it moved me to tears. However, one of my critiques was how the characters Joanne and Mimi, African American and Latin American characters, were portrayed by Caucasian women. It also didn’t help that the actress who played Mimi had an accent in the first act, just to drop it in the second act.

Were they good actresses, yes, but that’s not the point. The point of the matter is that theater and film departments tend to lose sections of their audience by not making their material diverse, or if a minority character is taken over by a member of the majority. And the audition process and the mentality of “maybe they were right for the part,” not when there are people of color auditioning as well as they are.

I recently listened to the whole soundtrack of Hamilton, a musical that has songs, rap, and spoken word about Alexander Hamilton’s life during the Revolutionary War. Ninety percent of the cast is African American, Biracial, Asian American, and Latin American even though this is a story about white men who are dead and gone. People don’t understand how exciting that is to find a way to display people of color’s stories without realizing it through the lens of this particular white man who was poor, an immigrant, lost his parents, and became a powerful man’s (in this case, George Washington) right hand man. Most importantly, it drew so many people in because of the diverse cast for a more contemporary audience we have today.

I look forward to more films and plays like that to come out in the future. Hopefully there would be more people color being a part of the majority and not the majority taking a piece of what minorities have in entertainment.

Poem: Alternative Music

Thumping through my earbuds

Are the musical notes that paraphrase

My state of mind.

They clutch to my eardrums

To hang and play upon,

Hoping to reach low enough

To play my heartstrings…

And they do.

Awakening me in awkward, nerdy, slightly emo

Middle school,

I learned all of the lyrics to a new Paramore song

Each day.

While questioning the concept of prayer,

Their Hallelujah was my meditation.

When questioning afterlives,

Coldplay was my Paradise.

They got me.

So why did friends and family say they weren’t

For me?

Was it because bands were bringing me out of

Certain depths

And not the people in front of me?

No.

The fall was deeper when someone explained how

Strange it was,

Me liking white music.

For music that was a mosaic

Of my emotions,

They did have a point.

Those musicians weren’t exactly the

Same shade as me.

But when I attempt to defend my tastes

Through history of blacks giving birth to

Rock & Roll,

No one wants to hear it.

It’s still seen as white.

Hozier couldn’t Take Me to Church

But he could take everyone else

In this particular context.

I don’t appreciate the oreo complex

In explaining why I should like more

Hip hop or

R&B ,

And I do like a few of those genres

In my playlist,

But it did make me ask:

Where were the sisters?

Where were my mocha to chocolate covered Muses

To soothe me

Through my adolescent sorrows?

If rap could welcome Eminem

And Macklemore,

Why couldn’t alternative

Invite anyone to the brand?

Where was the proof of people of color

Being able to sing about

Depression and exclusivity?

Because it does exist for us.

A lot more than people

Make it out to be.

Where was my proof that not every

Black singer sounded like

Jennifer Hudson?

To my white people, I’m sorry,

I’m not very skilled in gospel singing.

Lyrical storytelling and strong production

Still gets me weak in the knees,

And I still have yet to purchase

A Paramore t-shirt,

But I would love to see more of

My face somewhere.

It shouldn’t be too much to ask.

Being Christian and Multiracial

Growing up, my father with African American and Native American descent and my mother with European American and African American descent raised me; mostly my mother raised me, since they divorced when I was five. Nevertheless, both are Christian, so I was raised in the Christian faith. A popular question I often receive as a Christian woman, especially in an environment were there are people of multiple religious affiliations, and of non-religious affiliations, is regarding the mark of white supremacy in Christianity’s history. Why do I identify with a religion that had people who oppressed my descendants of color?

Africa has such a rich background in its culture and tribal religions, but during the time of slavery, the African diaspora had to assimilate to English, Christian dogma, and no longer being free. Native American mysticism and gender fluidity has especially been damaged due to colonialism, assimilation, and exile. During the Vietnam War, a Vietnamese Buddhist monk burned himself alive because of the horrific acts of Christian oppression. When the British invaded India, proselytizing was an act forced upon its citizens. All of these moments listed and more are needed information to point out, yet it is often ignored when studying Christianity, whether through a devotional lens or a scholarly lens.

I grew up attending traditional white non-denominational churches and traditional black Baptist churches. In both traditional settings, there’s often the need to not question. Do not look at outside sources, because the Bible should be the only text needed for spiritual growth. And the Bible details great proof of diversity, various tribes in various cities, but most churches do not value that part of Scripture. How could I have appreciated Christianity with the disputes over whether Jesus was white or black? How could I have appreciated the faith the pushed love and acceptance when it was shown to me through closeted mindsets?

It wasn’t until college where I grew to appreciate black churches. African Americans have taken Christianity and turned it into their own. Formally an act of persecution, it became an act of celebration and inspiration. African American culture is responsible for the evolution of gospel music and interpretive dance through the worship of Jesus. It has inspired heroes such as Harriet Tubman and Martin Luther King, Jr. to improve social conditions. It made me realize the joy and excitement from my culture. I also joined InterVarsity, a Christian campus ministry, and it was originally a predominantly white ministry that later understood the importance of diversity in order to create an open space for multi-ethnicity and Jesus’ teachings and grace. InterVarsity is becoming a place for all racial backgrounds, including white, black, and even mixed-race backgrounds.

Furthermore, Jesus Christ didn’t compartmentalize his identity of being born of a human mother and a godly father, He identified as fully God and fully Man, labels of privilege and lack of privilege.

Despite the amount of openness Christianity has had to offer spiritually and culturally, unfortunately, it is still not seen as an open form of faith. The majority of people in political office right now are Protestant and white, for example. When some white Christians are asked to stand with their brothers and sisters of color for social justice they have the privilege to say “I don’t think God is calling me to that right now.” With the facet of proselytizing, Christians are often viewed as exclusive, another popular view of whiteness.

It wasn’t easy identifying with all of my backgrounds. And it also wasn’t easy to come to terms with them when relating to my faith. However, I am still proud of how the Christian faith calls me to be uncomfortable in order to push for reconciliation in my community, and hopefully my world. Yes, multiracial identity can be seen as a symbol for racial harmony in of itself, but when looking beyond the externalities, being a Christian also helps me strive for reconciliation in our society and to be open to other cultural perspectives.

The Good Samaritan story is a parable Jesus tells of a man of a different race and different religion that helps a man different from him on the side of the road. If that isn’t a symbol of reconciliation in Christianity, I don’t know what else can be stronger than that.