Mixed: An Anthology of Short Fiction on the Multiracial Experience

Mixed: An Anthology of Short Fiction on the Multiracial Experience

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by Chandra Prasad
     
 

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With a roster of acclaimed fiction writers, Mixed shatters expectations of what it means to be multiracial.
Globally, the number of multiracial people is exploding. In 10 US states, the percentage of multiracial residents who are of school age—between 5 and 17—is at least 25 percent. In California alone, it is estimated that 15 percent of all births

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Overview

With a roster of acclaimed fiction writers, Mixed shatters expectations of what it means to be multiracial.
Globally, the number of multiracial people is exploding. In 10 US states, the percentage of multiracial residents who are of school age—between 5 and 17—is at least 25 percent. In California alone, it is estimated that 15 percent of all births are multiracial or multiethnic. Despite these numbers, mixed-race people have long struggled for a distinct place on the identity map. It was only as recently as 2000 that the U.S. Census Bureau began to allow citizens to check off as many racial categories as are applicable-White, African American, Asian, Hispanic, Native Hawaiian, American Indian, and Alaska Native. Previously, Americans were allowed to check off only one, leaving multiracial people invisible and unaccounted for.
Though multiracialism has recently become a popular aspect of many memoirs and novels, Mixed is the first of its kind: a fiction anthology with racial overlap as its compass. With original pieces by both established and emerging writers, Mixed explores the complexities of identity that come with being a multiracial person. Every story, crafted by authors who are themselves mixed-race, broaches multiracialism through character or theme. With contributors such as Cristina Garcia, Danzy Senna, Ruth Ozeki, Mat Johnson, Wayde Compton, Diana Abu-Jaber, Emily Raboteau, Mary Yukari Waters, and Peter Ho Davies, and an illuminating introduction by Rebecca Walker, Mixed gives narrative voice to the multiple identities of the rising generation.

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Editorial Reviews

VOYA - KaaVonia Hinton Johnson
A foreword by the editor followed by an introduction by Rebecca Walker, author of Black, White, and Jewish: Autobiography of a Shifting Self (Riverhead Books, 2001), begins this collection of eighteen short stories about being mixed-biracial and multiracial. There are questions directed at multiracial people that go beyond "What are you?" to "Whose are you?" "Where do multiracial/biracial people belong?" "Who do they identify with culturally?" "Racially?" and "Is race really important; does it matter?" These questions and others are raised and addressed in this anthology. Themes of coming-of-age, identity development, self-acceptance, and racial prejudice are explored insightfully. Two examples are Lucinda Roy's Effigies, about a professor who has spent his life's work studying black culture only to have his own identity as a black man (albeit half black) challenged by a black female professor, and Emily Raboteau's Mrs. Turner's Lawn Jockeys, a sad but slightly humorous story about a young man who paints the neighbor's black lawn jockeys white to ease his father's pain and bitterness. Although multiracial identity is a part of each story, the characters are concerned with other matters as well, such as a failed marriage in Mai Johnson's Gift Giving and a kidnapping in Prasad's Wayward. Few teens are at the center of these stories, and the teens who are included seem wise beyond their years. A short biography that includes select titles by each author, and in most cases their racial backgrounds, precedes each story, while information about how the story came to be concludes it. This collection is recommended, but mature language, themes, and situations might make it more appealing toadults and mature young adults.
Library Journal
Ranging from purely imaginative to autobiographical, each of the 18 short stories in this collection touches on some aspect of growing up multiracial, often focusing on the difficulties encountered by children of ambiguous ethnicity. Peter Ho Davies uses the metaphor of the Minotaur as he examines the tension that exists between a son, half-bull and half-man, and his stepfather (half-father). In Stewart David Akeda's "Shadey," that the family is multiethnic is alluded to but not stated directly. Danzy Senna writes mutliple versions of the same story, each featuring a protagonist of a different ethnicity. Here the story only differs from the point of view of the observer, not from within the characters, theme, or action of the story. This collection makes it clear that there is no single experience when it comes to multiracism. Also contributing to its diversity are the authors' varied styles and approaches. Because the story of America is the story of ethnicity and identity, this collection will find an appreciative audience, especially among those wanting to examine aspects of our multicultural society. Rebecca Stuhr, Grinnell Coll. Libs., IA Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780393327861
Publisher:
Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
Publication date:
08/14/2006
Pages:
304
Sales rank:
908,736
Product dimensions:
5.60(w) x 8.30(h) x 0.90(d)
Age Range:
14 - 18 Years

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