17/3rd gen Chinese-American 

I’ve not feel accepted by either Americans or Chinese communities that I know, but I’m still proud of my heritage. The only home I’ve found comfort in is theatre because everyone is so accepting, but I’ve dealt with enough stereotypes as an avid theatre girl in the casting department…I don’t want to be cast as the smart, business person every time—it gets pretty damn boring. Don’t stereotype us into math making machines because I am far from that!

I aim to make roles more complex and less stereotypical for those upcoming Asian-American actresses. Now, I’m becoming a filmmaker and screenwriter-director!

Shoutout to those brave Asian-American artists!

When a white kid says “Fuck the police!” It’s usually because Marijuana isn’t legalized yet and they’re angsty about their mom not letting them smoke a blunt on the front porch.

When a PoC declares “Fuck the police” for no reason other than the fact that a good 95% of cops deliberately hunt us down to harass us in the name of the law, or to deport our families, or to find excuses to racially profile us and incriminate us, all of a sudden we’re the “rebellious, savage delinquents who are out of control.”

Latina Canadian

I noticed this is kind of a US-centric place, so I feel some Canadian POC perspective is needed.

I go by Maria and I am from El Salvador, the tiny country next to Guatemala and Honduras. My mom’s side of the family came here the same way many immigrants from El Salvador did- fleeing from civil war. My aunt came later when she got a graduate studies scholarship, and my grandma, mother, twin and I came last.

Getting to Canada was a nightmare of bureaucracy because really only middle-class/upper class people have enough time and money for the application. You have to get medically tested, fill out a bunch of paperwork, wait for it to come back, and if your application expires because the mail took too long then you’re going to have to start the process all over again. Our application was sponsored by our relatives here, but it was heavily delayed because 9/11 happened right as they were reviewing it. As you can guess, pretty much everyone had to start their applications over after 9/11.

I’ve been in Canada since I was 8 and haven’t gone back to El Salvador, so it really feels like home. My Canadian citizenship is something my family and I are super-proud of. Growing up, I‘ve never really had much trouble personally because of my race, I think for two reasons. One: We lived in the third-largest city in Canada, with an incredibly large population of POCs. If you pass someone on the street, it’s likely they’re not white. Second: Latinos were so rare when I moved, and especially in the suburbs where I grew up, that we were more a curiosity than a threat. My best friends were usually “minorities” in the neighbourhood, AKA white. (Don’t get me wrong- I still pause when I get asked “where are you from?”. I have been approached by a number of people asking me if I’m anything from Persian to Italian. I still have to slow down in order to pronounce words properly. It’s just not as bad as it is in the States, where I get dirty looks and followed around stores.)

Despite being university-graduated engineers, Canada refused to acknowledge my uncle and aunt’s degree, so they had to take whatever jobs they could while going back to school (and taking care of my 3 cousins). The same thing happened to my mom, but as a single mother it took her a lot longer to earn her degree again. There were nights when she would work for 12 hours at her terrible job, then go to school and get back home around midnight. I grew up taking care of the house and my sister, with help from my grandma. We lived in a rent subsidised building, and the neighbourhood around was on the brink between the “shady” part of town and the rich suburbs.

It’s a bit frustrating coming to a new country so young, because I feel more like a second-generation than a first-generation immigrant. My memories of my birth country are so far back that I might as well have lived here all my life. Honestly, I had no other latino kids my age to interact with, so I ended up growing up like a white person. There were two other Hispanic friends I had: A younger girl who I didn’t see much after middle school, and a half-Peruvian half-Chinese guy who’s family had been in Canada since time immemorial. I can talk Spanish, but it’s very proper, grammatically correct Spanish in contrast to my mom and grandma’s slang-filled vocab. I can write at about a grade 2 level, and read at about a grade 1.

I love writing and history and I am trying to get more connected to my heritage recently. It frustrates me to no end that there’s very little pre-Europan history of the Americas, and that there’s very few fiction books with people who look like me. (So protip: write a time travel story about a latina going back to the Maya empire. A few other remarks: Latino families are close-knit and have usually conservative values (The younger generation doesn’t as much. We get along by not bringing up social issues.), I and most people I know hate getting asked “Where are you from/where is your accent from?’(If you mention an accent you’re going to make me self-conscious for weeks),I would like to see the actual body diversity of latino people in fiction, and quite a few of us can claim mixed maya-european ancestry.

A Smugglerific Cover: Hunting Monsters by S. L. Huang

Today we unveiled the cover of Book Smugglers Publishing’s very first short story! 

Both of us were blown away upon our first read of Hunting Monsters. A story that combines elements of popular fables such as “Beauty and the Beast” and “Red Riding Hood”, S.L. Huang’s version cleverly subverts these classic fairy tales by integrating an unexpected love story, a powerful mother-daughter relationship, and a rich historical fantasy setting.

We eventually chose to publish Hunting Monsters because it’s a powerful coming of age story of a young girl grappling with the fact that her mothers have secret lives and a history of their own. Also, because it’s a story about monsters – the different faces they assume and the complications in dealing with them.

S.L. Huang wrote an incredibly beautiful, raw story that resonates powerfully with us every time we read it. We are honored to publish Hunting Monsters… and we hope you will enjoy it, too.

More about the story, pre-order links and publishing date HERE.

signature

The man who robbed me
could barely write his name.

Letters pulled apart
and collaged back together:
his signature
scrawled in burgundy ink
on the hotel room
receipt.

He could not name a composer,
describe an art piece
or even tell me
his favorite author.
But he prescribed
exactly
what I needed to drink—
Have one more.

He did not
remember my name
or where I went to school,
but he said, Trust me.
He was an expert.
Did this all the time.

On the receipt,
his letters bumped together:
M ran into R,
Q forced itself on S,
and X trailed uncertainly,
watching it all.

I swore I would remember
his name
so I could disinfect the syllables.

I swore I would remember
his name
so I could forgive.

Of course, I forgot.
He became a jumble of hands
and sweat
and teeth
and skin.
He became a jumble
of M and R and Q and S.

I only remember
that the man who robbed me
could barely write his name.
But he left his initials
all over my skin.

wait a minute. if poc say that white people can’t have dreadlocks… and white people say that the vikings had dreadlocks… and poc say that the vikings had matted hair… and white people with dreadlocks have matted hair… aren’t white people entitled to their matted hair because their ancestors had hair in the same style?

but that’s none of my business….

mythbeliever said:

I think the problem is people trying to fit such complex (and somewhat unsettling because they go against what we've been taught) issues. It also has to deal with, as you said, this idea that it's white vs POC, and that's not always true. I think people don't want complex issues; people want issues they can easily distinguish who's good and bad so we know which side to be on at all times no matter what. And on the topic of weird heritage, you're not alone. I'm part Puerto Rican yet I am not

the stereotypical brown that is viewed with the idea of Puerto Ricans. I want to learn more about my heritage but I’m somewhat cut off from it because my Puerto Rican side of my family lives in New York. I don’t know whether to consider myself white or hispanic, latino, or just Puerto Rican. So I somewhat understand what you mean by being confused about your heritage. Sorry that the anons are getting to you as well

Hey thanks for your kind words! The anons aren’t getting to me much anymore because they’ve been outnumbered by you guys :) Yes, and the disturbing irony is that if you’re a social justice blogger and you insist on oversimplifying things….you’re just using the old language and methods of colonialism. Like hey, who cares. Africa’s this uniform mass of black people! Let’s just cut it up however we please and pay no attention to the fact that we completely disregarded thousands of years of ethnoreligious ties, history and geopolitics between African kingdoms. Or how there is an “enemy”, how diverse opinions are distorted into black and white. It’s the worst form of apathy and laziness if you wanna be a social justice blogger but yet you want simple categories, a simple dichotomy narrative of who the oppressor and victim is. Because this world isn’t simple. Because sometimes the victim becomes the oppressor later, because sometimes both oppressor and victim wear the same face.

If anyone is a social justice blogger, imo they should never get too comfortable with these kinds of dichotomies and categories. You should at least be cautious about using them- like “Does it make any sense if I talk about the ISIS militants in Iraq being POC? Does it make sense if I talk about “white people” uniformly in the UK when there are hate crimes against Polish people?”

Ugh yes the US census form is a mess, especially for people with latino heritage. How can you say “race”, have “black” and “white” and the rest describe actual ETHNIC GROUPS, not race, which in the US is this shitty approximation of skin colour, in general? I know what you mean. Because like latino is such a cultural identity- you guys all have a varied mix of European, African and indigenous ancestry. Some people have more African ancestry. Some are evenly European and indigenous. it varies. So It just feels wrong to think you guys are one “Race”, imo. Like…are you “white” if you’re a latino with mainly European ancestry? What a trainwreck indeed. I really think they should throw out “black” and “white” for “African” and “European”, and not use the term race but “ethnicity”. So like you could tick “European” if you have European ancestry, also get to write “puerto rican”. Imo the best thing about figuring out identity when you’re a product of multiple cultures is to just view it that the social categorisation is too rigid and cannot describe your identity. If you feel like your identity cannot be forced into that, well maybe that’s how it is! Maybe these social constructs are too limited, and you can just see yourself as being part “Puerto Rican”. I mean the stereotype of tanned skin is just that- a stereotype, a homogenisation- a false oversimplification of an entire people. 

cupping clouds

Your blonde hair catches the light,
and I am forced to concede
to the weakness in my knees
as you turn your face
toward the sun.

You stitch laughter
into the clouds and remind me
that birds sing
even when they’re scared.

Your eyes are the pale grey clouds
after an August storm,
but your hands burn
with the heat of July.
Teach me to rearrange constellations.
Teach me to reposition the moon.

I wrote an article about How to Write People of Color (if you happen to be a person of another color), featuring sage advice from cartoonists Elisha Lim, Fred Noland, Jennifer Camper, Keith Knight, Mare Odomo, Whit Taylor and Yumi Sakugawa. This article was the inspiration for my PoC and LGBTQ databases. Read it here: http://midnightbreakfast.com/writing-people-of-color

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