Author Event: Samira Mehta, "The Racism of People Who Love You"
GrubStreet and Beacon Press are delighted to welcome scholar and essayist Samira Mehta for a discussion of her latest book, The Racism of People Who Love You: Essays on Mixed Race Belonging. She will be joined in conversation by artist and activist Shannon Downey.
About The Racism of People Who Love You
In this emotionally powerful and intellectually provocative blend of memoir, cultural criticism, and theory, scholar and essayist Samira Mehta reflects on many facets of being multiracial.
Born to a white American and a South Asian immigrant, Mehta grew up feeling more comfortable with her mother’s family than her father’s—they never carried on conversations in languages she couldn’t understand or blamed her for finding the food was too spicy. In adulthood, she realized that some of her Indian family’s assumptions about the world had become an indelible part of her—and that her well-intentioned parents had not known how to prepare her for a world that would see her as a person of color.
Popular belief assumes that mixedness gives you the ability to feel at home in more than one culture, but the flipside shows you can feel just as alienated in those spaces. In 7 essays that dissect her own experiences with a frankness tempered by generosity, Mehta confronts questions about:
- authenticity and belonging;
- conscious and unconscious cultural inheritance;
- appropriate mentorship;
- the racism of people who love you.
The Racism of People Who Love You invites people of mixed race into the conversation on race in America and the melding of found and inherited cultures of hybrid identity.
Samira K. Mehta is an associate professor of women and gender studies and of Jewish studies at the University of Colorado Boulder. Her research and teaching focus on the intersections religion, culture, and gender, including the politics of family life and reproduction in the United States. Her first book, Beyond Chrismukkah: The Christian-Jewish Blended Family in America, was a National Jewish book award finalist. Mehta’s current academic book project, God Bless the Pill: Sexuality and Contraception in Tri-Faith America is forthcoming from the University of North Carolina Press. Connect with her online at samiramehta.com and on Twitter @samirakmehta.
Shannon Downey aka Badass Cross Stitch is an artist, activist, craftivist, community builder, and general instigator. She moves people from passive consumers of art into engaged creators. Shannon leverages craft-based art forms to bring people together and offers them opportunities to transition from makers to change makers. Her work is about telling the truth and confronting harsh realities while simultaneously inspiring radical hope and a vision for what is possible. Shannon is faculty at Columbia College Chicago and is the founder of Seriously Badass Women.
About Beacon Press
Beacon Press® is an independent publisher of serious non-fiction. Their books often change the way readers think about fundamental issues; they promote such values as freedom of speech and thought; diversity, religious pluralism, and anti-racism; and respect for diversity in all areas of life. Learn more at beacon.org.
This event will take place in-person at our Center for Creative Writing in Boston's Seaport neighborhood.
GrubStreet's space will be mask optional when Boston's Covid-19 Community Level is low or medium. When the Covid-19 Community Level is high, our space will require masks. Please check GrubStreet's Covid-19 page for the latest info on masking and Community Levels before visiting in-person.