anonymous said:

This is probably a really stupid question, but why is my skin so light? My mom's half Irish, half German and my dad is a full blood Native American (Sioux). My mom has light-more peach toned skin and my dad is very dark brown. But my skin is porcelain with olive tones?? No one ever takes me seriously whenever I say anything relating to my father's cultural background because my skin is so light.

Hello! This isn’t a stupid question because mixed-race people or people who just don’t look like the stereotypical image of their ethnicity do face a lot of problems of identity in our racially charged world.

Well, actually many mixed race children usually get an intermediate tone between that of their parents, and the skin tone you describe sounds exactly like that intermediate- because it’s neither exactly the same as your father or mother. I have a cousin who married a dark-skinned Indian man, making their child part-Chinese and part-Indian-his skin tone is MUCH lighter than his father, because his mother is very, very fair-skinned. His skin tone is overall a little darker than hers’, like yours. In other cases, some mixed race kids actually take after one parent more than the other- though usually this requires at least one parents’ ancestry to have been mixed. There are amazing cases where twins come out with one inheriting more African ancestry, and the other one more European!


It is racial stereotyping plain and wrong if people think you can’t have Native American ancestry because you’re “not dark enough”. While I know some people say things like, “oh I’m 1/32 Choctaw hahahaa!”, you have KNOWN and a very big proportion of Native American ancestry through your father. Native American culture is not a distant, fragmentary ancestry but a very real part of your identity. Your ancestral make up is actually pretty similar to many Mexicans who are “mestizo”- mixed race European and Native American (like the Aztecs) because the colonisers intermarried with local women. And they can have similar skin tones to what you describe.

Go ahead and embrace the culture of your father’s side of the family- you have every right to and those people who don’t take you seriously are the ones who need to be educated about genetics and how “appearance/skin tone = identity” is completely nonsensical. Is it not a mere perpetuation of the damaging structures of racism and colonialism if we continue to restrict what people can do based on the shade of their skin tone, without caring about actual ethnic lineage and cultural upbringing? If we assume and homogenise everyone with fair-skin of being of European origin and reject the possibility they are mixed-race or not even European? (Like fair skinned Indians, Afghans or Iranians).

Using a variety of costumes and lighting settings, Van Leo anticipated later postmodern photography, and his pieces are recognized today as a singular body of work made during the early 1940s. Drawing freely on references from film and theater, and re-enacting real or inventing fictional characters, Van Leo’s self-portraits are a strong testament to his inventiveness and deep desire to create and express his own identity. Their range and impressions testify to a great artistic sensitivity, from the very staged and in costume, to the classic portrait, to a play between the masculine and feminine.

Here and Elsewhere" is on view through September 28.

Image: Courtesy Rare Books and Special Collections Library, The American University in Cairo


“However elegantly or gleefully his books distort story-telling conventions, they nevertheless exhibit great affection for the transfigurative power of narrative on our common means of perception. They transform banality into rich and amusing anachronism, and recall to us in oblique but insightful ways how much our sense of self or place was always some kind of invention.”

“The title comes from Stewart Edward White’s book Rose Dawn (quoted in City of Quartz), in which the author expresses amazement that anything green could live in Los Angeles. After I moved to L.A. I experienced something like 40 straight days of cloudless blue skies, and decided that I was secretly part of some reality show, and that the sun and earth had reached an agreement in order to produce the optimum filming environment. This unnatural feeling, as well as a slight sense of déjà vu, compelled me to photograph the locations. Walking through the city I could let my memories and fantasies of films overlap with the real places. It became a bit like a gumball being rolled through the street picking up more and more gum. I shot everything at midday, so that throughout the book there’s no sense of time passing. ”

— The Sun Shone Glaringly: a conversation with Seth Lower, just published at

officialsusanabanana said:

As a Latina it makes me a bit uncomfortable when people on this blog call themselves Spanish or Hispanic and equate it with being Latin@ or PoC. True, some of us Latin@s, like myself, are white and/or white passing, but many of us are not, and Spanish/Hispanic does not equal Latin@ and it certainly does not mean PoC. People equating their Spanishness to being PoC (unless they have heritage from elsewhere) really rub me the wrong way. But maybe I'm being ignorant? Does this make sense? Thoughts?

No, i pretty much agree with you.

Personally i don’t like how fast ppl are willing to equate Spain/Europe to our identities as Latinx. Just hearing myself or other latinx being referred to as “Hispanic” makes me cringe.

But idk, some Latin Americans prefer that label. Which, if they want to go by that for themselves, it’s fine imo. :/

I usually take issue when the terms are applied to ALL of us, as tho it were describing how a 'race' of people should identify…because it is an over simplification of who we are.

Not all of us speak Spanish, nor come from nations that were once colonized by Spain. And we aren’t all one particular race (or mixed race) of colour, because there are white latinx (and other monoracial ppl as well) in the community.

The term latinx itself doesn’t even indicate any race to begin with.

Imo ppl really need to stop treating Latin Americans like all of our identities can be white washed down to “Spanish” or “Hispanic”. Because that’s not who we really are, and our people are far from simple.

- Liz

anonymous said:

I'm South African & I just wanted to say a bit. My mother is a Boer, & my father is half Afrikaner, half Engels (British ancestry). This includes Khoi ancestry on my mothers side from early intermarriages. I am often told I'm not a "real" African by people who've never set foot in Africa because I'm "too white". I don't claim any answers, but it does hurt when I'm told I'm not allowed a connection to Africa, the land I was born to, because of that. But I've been told that hurt isn't valid, so.

Hello- thanks for sharing your experience!

While I guess the term “African” is usually loaded with the connotation of ethnicity (unlike “American”), I do think it’s wrong for people to say you’re “too white” to have a cultural connection to Africa if you were BORN and RAISED there- much less by people who have not even visited even one of the many African countries. Your hurt is valid. Because if you’re not allowed a cultural connection with Africa, what can people say?  ”Oh no, you’re European" And that’s…just nonsensical because the experience of somebody who grows up in Amsterdam and somebody who grows up in Cape Town is going to be very, very different. Not to mention you’d grow p surrounded by indigenous African cultural traditions and the geopolitics of the African continent- a COMPLETELY different context from Europe, the EU and all the hoo-ha about NATO and whatnot. All of that is going to be absorbed by you from the moment you were born and to affect your identity and worldview. 

Speaking from personal experience- it’s the same with the Chinese diaspora. Taiwanese and Hong Kongers don’t feel as though they’re EXACTLY the same as Mainland Chinese. Similarly, Indonesian Chinese feel different because of their different surroundings and different experiences. It’s indeed annoying to us when people of Chinese ancestry are all assumed to be homogenous

While I guess the term “African” is a bit confusing to use because like “European” it tends to carry connotations of ethnicity in modern usage, you should at least feel free to identify as a South African. I understand this is quite complex for you, seeing that you do actually have known black African ancestors even if you may look “white”. You can at the very least be sure you are tied to your nationality. I believe the South African constitution itself defines itself as a multiracial nation, and that the nationality “South African” isn’t confined to one skin colour. You were born there and it is your home, and whatever boxes other people try to pigeonhole you into doesn’t change that. Is your experience different from a black South African? Sure, most likely. Just as a white American has very different experiences from a black American. But they are both US citizens because being a US citizen isn’t narrowly defined by ethnicity. 

“We’re all just complicated arrangements of atoms and subatomic particles — we don’t live. But our atoms do move about in such a way as to give us identity and consciousness. We don’t die; our atoms just rearrange themselves. There is no God.
It’s ridiculous to think in terms of a superior or inferior being, maybe, because we don’t even exist, we arrange our lives with more order and harmony than we imagine.
We measure, we plot, we create wonderful new things. We are the architects of our own existence.
This is the magic we have to experience. Then we have a future.” B.B.B.

How The New York Times Got Their Criticism of Shonda Rhimes Incredibly Wrong

How The New York Times Got Their Criticism of Shonda Rhimes Incredibly Wrong

When The Help came out in 2011, there were a lot of critiques written about how the movie portrayed the historical roles of Southern black maids as empowering. There was one review — written by black critic Wesley Morris — that had a different perspective.

He starts by recalling a memory of a restaurant owner with a ceramic statue of a black woman propping open a door.

“I was the lone black…

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anonymous said:

I am Native American mixed with white, and a little Spanish. Lol I have lighter skin than the average Native person. I also have light hazel eyes. My cousins calls me the white girl if the family. They are the ones who are not even interested in being Native. I am actually the one who is wanting to be involved with our culture. Is it wrong that I dislike the lightness of my skin? I get really offended when they say those things to me. I can never think if a damn good comeback lol.

"They are the ones who are not even interested in being Native. I am actually the one who is wanting to be involved with our culture."

…this…sounds like you want to turn your native identity into a competition for others :/

It’s not that unusual that, as a mixed white-passing POC, you’d want to appear more like you relatives.

Buuuuut you do have privileges for your lighter skin, something that your cousins might not get the benefit of, and that you need to recognize without trying to belittle THEIR identities as NDNs…


I’m not here for that.

- Liz

On a less kin positive note, I have this friend that simultaneously bugs the shit out of me and makes me feel so sad.
He is a furry, a dire wolf, and due to all the shit he has to put up with (or maybe just his lack of intelligence) he overcompensates for it by enforcing it harshly. He goes by the name wolfie and he refers to his hands as paws and his hair as his wolf mane and his hugs as wolf hugs. Now that’s all cool, if he is a wolf then that makes sense, but he also refers to his gender as wolf.
I’m sorry but wolf is not a gender, it is a animal. Animals can have genders but genders can not be animals.
As I said, the fact that he is so ignorant kind of annoys me but at the same time I wonder if the reason he refers to even his gender as his identity is because he has been denied of it for so long.