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Saturday, September 4, 2021

What's In A Name OR "How to say: Your story is important & you're welcome here"

What's in a name?  

So much meaning, including a sense of belonging.  

And it's also just a conglomeration of sounds smooshed together.  In a particular sequence, yes.  One that has been developed over time and shifted in changed in different times and contexts.  One that continues to evolve today and into tomorrow based on what we knew then and what we will learn in the future.   

Biracial & Rural was a phrase we started using to refer to the experience of living in a pre-dominantly white rural space as a person whose ancestry was from two different continents.  In 2019 we applied that phrase  to title an autobiographical transdisciplinary performance art piece of Conie's story.  

By 2020, we realized that one person's story could not encapsulate the breadth of experiences possible in that phrase, Biracial & Rural (BnR).  It took until the end of 2020 to be able to articulate that BnR was a community of care and storytelling space and that Conie's story in that was called Freeing Refrains.  

This year, 2021, we're realizing the limitations of using Biracial.  With a conversation partner from Midwest Mixed, we realized the wide net we were hoping to spread using Biracial might be more deterrent as some folks see themselves as multi-ethnic or mixed.  It is a complexity that needs space to unfold and real relationship to feel the inclusion.  

And begs the questions:  How wide do you want to fling the net?  And will you change the name?
  • To the second question, yes.  We are willing to change the name.  It is not a sacred cow.
  • To the first question, we're still discerning and invite you into that discernment.  
Here's some of our thoughts on how wide to fling the net: 

Some mixed groups include all the shades of bi/multi- racial/ethnic mixedness and welcome folks who identify or connect with the experience of being a transnational or trans-racial adoptee.  For us, the feeling of not fitting in with the dominant culture is important so adoptees are welcome. 

Another aspect we're considering is if any black, indigenous, person of color living in predominantly white rural spaces can be included.  If building this community of care and storytelling space is to combat isolation and increase positive visibility for marginalized folks (a.k.a. the Global Majority), then it seems the answer is yes.  

So, the case for changing the name Biracial & Rural seems solid.  But to what?

Here is where we're waiting for the folks who connect or identify with these experiences to come forward and help shape this community.  That's the only way any collective thing can be by, for, and with that community.  Is this you?  

If you're interest is piqued, we'd love to connect and get to know you.  Please reach out by using the Contact Us form link here or in the right column.  And then checkout one of the Freeing Refrains gatherings.  As of this writing, there's 5 opportunities left this year!  Register here and then invite a friend or two to join you.

This Mixed Rural Asian Gen X-er kid really wants to meet you.  

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