Mixed-Race Writers and Artists on the Rise

Their work shows that the "tragic mulatto" stereotype is so last decade. 

Posted:
 
danzysenna
Author Danzy Senna (Ann Johannson/New York Times)

With the new census numbers showing a roughly 32 percent increase since the year 2000 in the number of Americans who identify as multiracial; a biracial president; an explosion of blogs about multiculturalism; and the advent of critical mixed-race studies on college campuses, it's no wonder that work by mixed-race artists and writers is increasingly visible, the New York Times reports. There's The Girl Who Fell From the Sky by black-and-Danish author Heidi W. Durrow, and a lot more where that came from.

Last month, at the fourth annual [Mixed Roots Film and Literary] festival, a table was crowded with works by critically acclaimed authors: [Danzy] Senna's "You Are Free" nestled near "Dreams From My Father" by Barack Obama, which nudged "Picking Bones From Ash" by Marie Mutsuki Mockett. There were also spots for "Pym" by Mat Johnson, "Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet" by Jamie Ford, and Ms. Durrow's "The Girl Who Fell From the Sky," which deals with a girl who survives a family tragedy.

Ms. Senna's short-story collection, "You Are Free," about women of various racial backgrounds, received good reviews when it came out this spring. So did "Pym," Mr. Johnson's satirical novel about a biracial professor of American literature who embarks on a misadventure to discover how the idea of whiteness is constructed.

Showcased in museums is the work of Kip Fulbeck, an artist, writer and art professor at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Mr. Fulbeck, who is Asian and white, has written disarmingly direct books, including "Mixed: Portraits of Multiracial Kids" and "Part Asian/100% Hapa," which pair photographs with short personal statements on identity that go beyond racial categories, showing what is not visible. (Hapa refers to a mixed heritage that includes Asian or Pacific Island ancestry.

Source: the New York Times.

Experts on the issue told the Times that this work has helped to change the images of racially mixed people as  "mulattoes" who are "psychically divided, racially impure outcasts," as well as -- and perhaps just as important -- contributing to the larger conversation of how we think about race in America.

Read more at the New York Times.

Like The Root on Facebook. Follow us on Twitter.     

Comments
The Root encourages respectful debate and dialogue in our commenting community. To improve the commenting experience for all our readers we will be experimenting with some new formats over the next few weeks. During this transition period the comments section will be unavailable to users.

We apologize for any inconvenience and appreciate your continued support of The Root.

While we are experimenting, please feel free to leave feedback below about your past experiences commenting at The Root.
Must-See Family Attractions
July 29 2014 2:13 PM