This week we’re celebrating the publication of novels by Kimbilio Faculty Members Mat Johnson and Dolen Perkins-Valdez. Here’s an article by Mat from BuzzFeed:
Yo, I’m a mulatto. And I have to tell you, it’s great. I was black for most of my life, which is also great, but the thing is I look white and, coincidentally, my dad’s also white (he’s great too), and after a while I needed a word that offered me a better fit, and acknowledge my father and his whole family’s impact on my life, which was also a big part of my identity. So I converted to mulatto, which I see as a subset of the larger African American experience.
I actually love the word mulatto. I love it for its rolling linguistic sound — moo-lah-toe — sliding off my tongue the way Lolita did for Humbert Humbert. But I also love mulatto for the illicit pleasure of watching the uncomfortable cringe the word sometimes elicits from others, even when I say it to describe myself: an African American novelist who just happens to look like a washed-up Latvian rugby player. The discomfort is a response I’ve encountered from black people, from white people, and even sometimes from many mulattoes — or rather, I should say, “first-generation mixed people of black and white ancestry.” That inelegant mouthful is what mulatto means, but I can’t shorten it without saying “mulatto,” because there is no other word in the English language that captures that meaning while connecting it with the larger sociopolitical history of North America.
Read the rest of the article here: http://www.buzzfeed.com/matjohnson/kiss-my-mulatto-ass?utm_term=.ccEPv3D7m
And show some love for your Kimbilio Faculty by ordering your copies of LOVING DAY and BALM today!