Please join Crossings on Tuesday, March 30, 2010 featuring Lori Young-Williams and Sherry Quan Lee for an adapted performance of Chinese Black White Women Got the Beat (revised). This event will take place in Appleby Hall 103 from 3:30-5:00 p.m.
Critical Dialogues: Crossings in American Studies March 30, 2010
Chinese Black White Women Got the Beat (revised)
featuring Lori Young-Williams & Sherry Quan Lee
Two mixed-race women, 20 years apart in age, discuss their lives. See how different, and not so different, they are...
Tuesday, March 30
*Note Location Change: Appleby Hall 103
Refreshments will be provided
My birth certificate says Mama's race Negro, father's race Chinese? Did Hostess Twinkies, Campbell's Chicken Noodle soup, tuna noodle casserole, Banquet TV Dinners, and Wonder Bread make me a white girl? Raised on welfare, we stood in long government lines for canned meat, powdered milk, and cheese. Am I white? Am I Black? Am I Chinese? Am I invisible? Race is a social construct. I've never been sociable.
1948, Quan Lee, girl baby, baby girl number four, father couldn't wait for the son who would eventually appear, so father disappeared.
This Chinese Black Baby Boomer Cowboy, don't got the rhythm, but got the beat.
I ate the Twinkies, the Wonder bread, the Kraft Miracle Whip, Betty Crocker boxed scalloped potatoes, & Banquet Frozen Chicken & Kraft Velveeta Cheese. We didn't have government cheese. We were a working-class family that moved to the suburbs trying to look middle-class while watching American Bandstand, but when it's all said and done, I still say my mother's white, my father's black and they met at a church in Rondo, St. Paul. Am I Black enough? Am I white enough?
1967, two days before New Year's Day, baby girl number four entered the world over dinner. Able to write me off on the taxes. Large & in charge, 11 lbs. and 23.5 inches long, I made a mark.
This Black/White Gen-X, classy lady, got the rhythm, got the beat.
Sponsored by the Department of American Studies
Lori Young-Williams is a 41-year-old prose poet, born in St. Paul. She comes from a working-class family that believes in laughing, crying, and praying when times are good, bad or otherwise. Lori has one brother, one sister, and another sister who passed away when she was 14. She received her degree in Human Relationships with an emphasis in family relationships at the University of Minnesota, 1992. Lori works a 9-5 job in Human Resources and Finance, but her passion is her writing. Most of her poetry is about her family--family relationships and how they impact her life. She has been published in Interrace Magazine, the Turtle River Press, the National Library of Poetry, Quill Books, "Dust & Fire," and other anthologies. Also, she has self-published two chapbooks. She has read in various bookstores, coffee shops, and spoken word events in the Twin Cities. Lori recently was accepted as a participant for the Givens Black Writers Retreat, with Sonia Sanchez and Carolyn Holbrook. She is currently working on her Master's thesis through the Master of Liberal Studies program at the University of Minnesota. She has studied with Rose Brewer, Carolyn Holbrook, Sherry Quan Lee, and others.
Sherry Quan Lee approaches writing as a community resource and as culturally based art of an ordinary everyday practical aesthetic. Quan Lee taught Creative Writing at Metropolitan State University for ten years, and now teaches community-based workshops such as Stories that Save Lives, and Bookmaking. She is also a mentor. For the past eight years, Quan Lee has been, and currently is, a Program Associate for the Split Rock Arts Program Summer Workshops, College of Continuing Education. Quan Lee earned an AA degree at North Hennepin Community College (honored as a Distinguished Alumni in 2004), and a BA and MFA (first Chinese/Black woman, in 1996, to graduate from the, then, newly established MFA Program) at the University of Minnesota.
Quan Lee is the author of A Little Mixed Up, Guild Press, 1982 (second printing), Chinese Blackbird, a memoir in verse, published in 2002 by the Asian American Renaissance, republished 2008 by Loving Healing Press, and How to Write a Suicide Note: serial essays that saved a woman's life, Loving Healing Press, 2008. http://blog.sherryquanlee.com