THE BEIGING OF AMERICA, BEING MIXED RACE IN THE 21ST CENTURY, takes on “race matters” and considers them through the firsthand accounts of mixed race people in the United States. Edited by mixed race scholars Cathy J. Schlund-Vials, Sean Frederick Forbes and Tara Betts, this collection consists of 39 poets, writers, teachers, professors, artists and activists, whose personal narratives articulate the complexities of interracial life. Discrimination, instilling pride in family settings, sorting out the terms and names that people call themselves and their relatives, tackling colorism within communities of color, and childhood recollections fill these pages with compelling stories that speak to lived experiences, mapping a new ethnic terrain that transcends racial and cultural division. THE BEIGING OF AMERICA was prompted by cultural critic/scholar Hua Hsu, who contemplated the changing face and race of U.S. demographics in his 2009 The Atlantic article provocatively titled “The End of White America.” In it, Hsu acknowledged “steadily ascending rates of interracial marriage” that undergirded assertions about the “beiging of America.”
As one flips through the pages of THE BEIGING OF AMERICA, one discovers contributors’ shared exasperation with the inevitable and preposterous question – “What are you?” – simply because they do not fit neatly into any one racial category. This in itself is a reflection of how the black-white paradigm in America continues to obfuscate and distort rigid constructs and systemic racism, reminding readers that race – even in a post-racial imaginary – still matters. THE BEIGING OF AMERICA is an absorbing and thought-provoking collection of stories that explore racial identity, alienation, with people often forced to choose between races and cultures in their search for self-identity. While underscoring the complexity of the mixed race experience, these unadorned voices offer a genuine, poignant, enlightening and empowering message to all readers. Cover design: Cathy J. Schlund-Vials. Cover art: Laura Kina. Reprinted with permission from artist. Copyright © 2006 by Laura Kina. All rights reserved.