Tuesday, March 15, 2016

TO PASS or NOT to PASS



[Photo Credit: Mario D Lemafa]


by Luzviminda Uzuri "Lulu" Carpenter
(aka #LULUNATION)


I know what it is like to be passed…
from community to community
And passed by with no notice of being Queer
Of being Filipino
Of being Black
Of being Christian
Of being Radical
But still marked as "other"
As "outsider"
That not only my body,
But even my spirit is weary from these travels

I have been passed around so much
That I was late in understanding my identities…
As Mixie
As Revolutionary
As Drag Queen
As Gender Queer
As Dreamer
As a Believer
As Faith Healer
Even As Lover

I am draw upon as something unknown
As some Thing not to be.
I am marked as NOT the NORM
As NOT the STANDARD

So I marked my body with tattoos
And exposed the drawings of history
That traced my back
Back to my ancestors for protection
And forgotten memories

I have been read by others!
And their experiences
through their eyes,
they carve fears on my Black & Brown /Queer/ Body
Sometimes they use ropes
And I have grooves upon my wrists and neck from the strain
Stretched skin forms lashes of memories
Marking me dangerous and visible
New lynching ropes in modern times

These lashes are made with fake Asian accents to cross out my mouth
Marking me invisible once again
My story erased

So I have put substances into my veins
To blow them off my mind

My Body makes marks on communities!!!

As folks wonder where I fit
NO SAFETY as I have stood with hands and mouth
Pushed OUT!
With no excuses!!!

So I can just pass into sleep
To dream and believe.

Without my moves being watched and examined
so I can hum songs of my history to rock me to sleep
Upon waking my body vibrates with memory
So when shaken daily
light can shoot through my eyes
As I answer questions

Black Sister?
Maybe not, but definitely a Black Queen, a Queer one.

Filipina ka ba?  Are you  Filipina?
Opo! Yes, Filipino ako,
but not made for beauty pageants,
whitening creams,
or diets.

“Bakit?  Why?” I ask
“Kumusta ka na?”
“How are YOU doing today?”
Since you forgot to even greet me.

“Queer?”
“Yes,”
but crossed too many times
And marked with racism and poverty
As my body moves in spaces.

So I put folks on Notice…
“YOU are on NOTICE!”
Since you didn't notice that my body had a name
Luzviminda for the Filipina Babaylans murdered
Uzuri for the African slaves forgotten
I have stamped my name on my Body
To remind me
And stamped the places my Body has traveled
And passed throughout time

And I carry it on my back
A willing target in old age
And old rage…..at judgment.

So notice
And move past me
So I can focus and remember who I am
And who my ancestors are
Without the blockages of eyes and ears
On my road to communities
And transformation
And all my people's liberation.



-----


© Luzviminda Uzuri "Lulu" Carpenter
Printed here with permission. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from the artist is strictly prohibited.

See Lulu perform this piece --> at the first Raising Mixed Race signing




Thursday, March 10, 2016

[VIDEO] Raising Mixed Race @ Kinokuniya Seattle


[Me and Angel "Moonyeka" Langley / Photo by Bo Kim]
by Sharon H. Chang

On Saturday afternoon, March 5, 2016 we held the first unbelievable Raising Mixed Race book signing at Kinokuniya Bookstore in Seattle's International District. I say "we" because I was very intentional in organizing the event. I wanted it to be not just about me - but about community and centering, uplifting all mixed race, people and women of color voices; a transformative goal that actually lies at the center of Raising Mixed Race itself. And I'm pretty sure we accomplished that goal. Which is why I say "unbelievable" because for me and I think for many there - at the risk of sounding cheesy (but who cares?) - this was nothing short of a transcendent experience. It was a special moment, a rare moment, that very few of us mixed identifying people get to have. A moment where our voices could be not only heard, but fly free and liberated. I'll never forget it.

So pleased to be able to share an incredibly well done video of the event by Angela Flores-Marcus below. Take a look. View time is over an hour and I know it's hard to find an hour to do anything these days. So. I've included a view menu. Definitely jump around or watch it in bits and pieces if you need to. But please do watch it. Promise you won't be sorry...



________________________________
VIEW MENU

     0:18  Ahren Scholtz
     8:10  Cody Choi
   12:42  Angel "Moonyeka" Langley dancing to "Exodus" by M.I.A. & The Weeknd
   15:48  Luzviminda "Uzuri" Carpenter performing her poem "To Pass Or Not to Pass"
   19:31  Kalayaan Domingo
   32:00  Me! (trailer for Fall Seven Times, Get Up Eight: The Japanese War Brides at 45:19)
1:01:37  Q&A

(for full bios of speakers and performers please go here)

________________________________
GALLERY

[Ahren Scholtz / Photo by Bo Kim]
Singer songwriter Ahren Scholtz (Indonesian/Dutch/Caucasian) opened with a stellar short acoustic set on guitar. He played us two songs - with his wife proudly recording front row - including the title track off his album Suckerfish.  

[Angel "Moonyeka" Langley / Photo by Bo Kim]
Angel "Moonyeka" Langley (mixed Filipina) followed with a crowd-draw dance performance to "Exodus" by M.I.A. & the Weeknd. Folks walking by couldn't help but stop to watch. Moonyeka is one of the only female poppers in Seattle; a subject she's also conducting an ethnographic study upon as a dance major at the University of Washington.

[Cody Choi / Photo by Bo Kim]
Brilliant youth voice Cody Choi (Korean/white) gave testimonial next with a sharp essay about her experiences growing up and navigating the complex waters of being mixed. Cody is a writer and activist, and senior at the Ida B. Wells School for Social Justice.

[Luzviminda "Lulu" Uzuri Carpenter / Photo by Bo Kim]
Luzviminda "Lulu" Uzuri Carpenter (Queer, Black/Filipina) read her powerful poem "To Pass Or Not to Pass." Lulu does more things than I could count on a million hands. She is widely known and respected; a force in the Seattle justice community. You need to know her, her incredibly important work, and her multi-multi-multi-faceted activism.

[Kalayaan Domingo / Photo by Bo Kim]
Mother and activist Kalayaan Domingo spoke deep from her heart about her experiences as a multiracial woman and now as parent to two multiracial boys. She talked about intersections; mixed race as resistant, political, historical; and the vital necessity of expanding mixed conversations beyond biracial-mixed-with-white.

[My turn / Photo by Bo Kim]


[Photo by Bo Kim]
[Standing room only / Photo by Bo Kim]


[Signing / Photo by Bo Kim]

[Photo by Bo Kim]

[Me and Lulu / Photo by Bo Kim]

________________________________

Hope to see you at the next signing
Kinokuniya Portland, Oregon, Saturday April 16th!
_________________________


Tuesday, March 1, 2016

The Oscars "Joke" & How We're Failing Our Multiracial Asian Children



by Sharon H Chang

By now you've probably heard about the so-called Asian "joke" made at the 88th Oscars during which three Asian children - including 8-year-old biracial Estie Kung - trotted onstage and Chris Rock made awkward reference to them as PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) accountants and then child slave labor. Given that the multibillion-dollar PwC is headquartered in New York City and smartphone child slave labor is typically connected to overseas production, the skit attempted to nod (among other things) at typical U.S. model-minority-versus-forever-foreigner stereotyping of Asians. And of course this moment was supposed to be sharp provocative comedy that made scathing racial critique and edgy social commentary. But I think most of us also know by now that that didn't work. At all. For various reasons, among them the fact that it simply wasn't funny, any reach for irony totally failed, delivery was far-less-than-confident by the typically confident Rock himself and children were used like race pawns to play. AND the reality backdrop that Asians have been practically invisible in Hollywood forever so that a sudden 30 second spotlight to poke fun at Asian stereotypes (by a non-Asian person) upon "silent" "submissive" young Asian bodies who don't get to say anything - let's be obvious - really just rewrites those same stereotypes.

Oh and as a critical sidenote: PricewaterhouseCooper's leadership (the largest professional services firm in the world with a net worth of over $30 billion)? Not looking very Asian. Another fabulous job at failing the point; not calling out the white elephant in the room (ironically at an awards show highly criticized for being white dominated) by throwing people of color under the bus. And when the throwing is done by another person of color? Bonus points for white supremacy. Whites in power do nothing, sit back and laugh like they literally did at the Oscars, all the way to the literal bank.


PwC leadership from www.pwc.com

But you know what. I don't want to talk about the grownups anymore. I want to talk about something else. I want to talk about the children.