Deadline: December 15th, 2012
Hey, mixed-race folks, how do you respond when you get asked what you are? Do you feel at a loss for words when trying to describe your racial, ethnic, or cultural background? Do you find yourself struggling to understand where you belong in the context of prominent racial paradigms? Do you run into a POC-white binary that is reductive, incomplete, or simply not enough? What does it mean that there often isn’t an easy answer? And what happens when you add gender, feminism, and queerness into the mix?
Hey, queers and feminists, let’s respond to the lack of representation of mixed-race folks like us. Yes, we are deeply indebted to the countless beautiful queers and feminists of color who have demanded to be heard; who fight, survive, and die on a daily basis. We are indebted to colonized people and feminist of color around the world and in the states who have taught us that black and brown are beautiful; who have shown us how to act with compassion and love and thoughtful rage in the face of white supremacist violence. This zine is a call to continue this work; to build upon the work of anti-racist and decolonial literature, given the nuances of our lives as mixed-race queers and feminists, so often living on stolen land while refusing to forget the land stolen from our ancestors.
No doubt, racism against folks of color is fucking real, and those of us who are mixed race and sometimes or always pass as white are much less prone to the multiple forms of violence faced by black and brown folks. However, too often, that’s the end of the conversation. This zine strives to challenge the narrow conception of POC vs white, a binary which doesn’t allow space for many folks’ experiences or for more complex identities (even among POCs and white folks).
As mixed-raced queers and feminists, we refuse to whitewash our histories. We refuse to label individuals based solely upon our perceptions of their skin color or features. Colonialism attempts to whitewash, erase, assimilate and subjugate through violence and oppression. We refuse to finish this work. We invite you to collectively participate in this refusal.
A Working Definition of Mixed-race: While this may not be the perfect term, we are using it to frame a very broad set of experiences and identities, which may include tracing all or part of one’s culture or heritage to brown people and colonized people, inclusive of all skin tones. This may also include being raised with multiple cultures or with immigrant experience.
Why Queers & Feminists? Not only are we interested in the ways that mixed-race folks’ identities interact with queerness and feminism, but we also believe that it is important to prioritize stories from queers and feminists, whose voices are often marginalized. Moreover, with a topic as broad as race, we want to anchor our discussions in some common politics. This anchor is important because it is a big part of how we (the editors) choose who to organize with, live with, form community with, fuck, and, in this case, write zines with.
Possible Topics: Privilege. [Not] Passing. Sex, relationships & dating. Conflicting and conflated identities (especially related to race and queerness, transness, feminism, class, dis/ability). The POC/white binary. Cultural appropriation. Structural and institutional oppression. Art, music & creativity. [Not] Belonging. Cultural estrangement. Immigrant experiences. Families & histories. Colonizing processes in family, work, activisms & relationships. Being too brown/not brown enough. Home. Diaspora. Performing identities. Physical manifestations of race, and intersection with other forms of identity and presentation. Preserving and paying respect to heritage & history (eg: interviews, oral histories, folklore). Remembering. Tracing origins and roots. The importance of race/ethnicity/culture to political formation. Mixed-race community. Food & recipes. Remedies. Developing new language(s). Race/religion overlap (and exclusion). And much, much more.
Media and formats: Poetry, prose, essay, visuals (B&W for zine, possibly color online), audio (for online), interviews, and other formats (pitch them to us!— we’re good catchers).
Deadline for submissions: December 15th, 2012. Submit to mrqfz [at] gmail [dot] com.
mrqfz [at] gmail [dot] com
About the Editors
Lee Naught is a radical, genderqueer, homo, chican@ organizer who has participated in a variety of collective, feminist, and sexuality-based projects. They grew up in confusing, undulating, and ultimately class-privileged environments; raised on one side by their Mexican mom, tía, grandma, and older sister in SoCal, with additional parenting on the other side by their gringo dad and sometimes by step-moms, too. These days they also get to share family space with their queer collective home in Brooklyn, NY. Lee spends most of their time working as a collective member at Bluestockings Bookstore, in addition to sex educating with Fuckin’ (A) (also known as the NY Radical Sex Positivity Project). Lee plays drums in a queer cuddlecore band, and enjoys bikes, politically rowdy queers, cooking vegan enchiladas for a friendly crowd, watching too much Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and pretty much anything that involves excessive glitter. Through this zine, Lee hopes to do some learning from other folks whose histories contain both colonization and race privilege, and folks thinking about the ways that queerness and gender non-conformity impact their relationship with their ethnicity.
Lior is a homo-queer musician, jewish-moroccan radical educator, interested in collectively cultivating the fierce political power of brown love and loving brown, which he learned about from Audre Lorde, his Ima and abuelita. Most recently, Lior was teaching a poetry class to high-school sophomores that focused on works by queers and women of color. Over summer, he played guitar in the downtown musical The Material World. And currently, he is an advocate-counselor at Automotive High School in Brooklyn. Lior is hoping for lots of submissions from other brown and arab jews who are making the connections between apartheid, zionism and mizrahi struggles; who are telling their stories and the stories of their families: from the violence of assimilation/immigration, to being complicit in zionist colonization, to the love bubbling so patiently in grandmother’s kitchen. Lior plays guitar in the post-punk-dance band Gay Panic and the cuddle-core band Kitty and The Fags. He is also behind the acoustic project Music Was My First Gay Lover.
Lil Lefkowitz is a mixed-race, queer, second generation, latina with a passion for feminisms that create space for a myriad of complex identities, orientations, and experiences (read: a tica with attitude). Lil’s endeavors in new york city have been varied distinct and include being an Upward Bound creative writing instructor, a community supported agriculture project organizer, and a nonprofit worker at a women’s foundation. Lil recently graduated with a degree in women gender studies, sociology, and queer studies and now works as a community support worker with developmentally disabled adults. It is Lil’s hope that the MRQF zine will incite a discussion about the many nuances that comprise mixed-race queer folks’ identities specifically within the diasporic experience.