The Every Voice Now Podcast

The Mixed Blessing of Chandra Crane’s Multiethnic Identity

October 21, 2020 InterVarsity Press Season 1 Episode 2
The Every Voice Now Podcast
The Mixed Blessing of Chandra Crane’s Multiethnic Identity
Chapters
The Every Voice Now Podcast
The Mixed Blessing of Chandra Crane’s Multiethnic Identity
Oct 21, 2020 Season 1 Episode 2
InterVarsity Press

Episode Description:
 
Fusion may be hip in 2020, but it wasn’t the case when Chandra Crane was growing up, where she felt the pain of not quite fitting in anywhere as a person with a mixed-ethnicity heritage. The daughter of a white mother and Thai birth father who was then adopted and raised by an African-American dad, Chandra experienced the pain of marginalization but then followed the prophetic call of God to write about her challenges so that others would benefit. In this honest, refreshing conversation, Chandra opens the door to understanding the mixed blessing of being a multiethnic person, and why a unique voice like hers needs to be reflected in the church today.

 **Use the code EVN40  for 40% off and free US shipping on Chandra’s new book, Mixed Blessing.**

More about Chandra:

Chandra Crane is a resource specialist for the multiethnic initiatives department of InterVarsity Christian Fellowship and a member of the multiethnic Redeemer Church in Jackson, Mississippi. She has written for In All Things, The Well, and The Witness: A Black Christian Collective. She has spoken and led worship at several local and national conferences and has also participated in online discussions for Christianity Today. She is married to Kennan, a civil engineer, and they have two spunky daughters. Chandra is a fan of hot tea, crossword puzzles, Converse shoes, and science fiction. She thoroughly enjoys reading, napping, and defying stereotypes.

How to find Chandra:

Website
Twitter
Facebook
Instagram

About the Hosts:

Maila Kim, Co-Host
Maila is IVP’s events marketing coordinator; she holds a B.A. in English Language & Literature and a B.A. in Communication Studies from the University of Michigan, and an M.A. in Christian Formation & Ministry with a concentration in Bible & Theology from Wheaton College Graduate School. She enjoys photography, growing and caring for her plants, and listening to podcasts such as This American Life, Invisibilia, and Unlocking Us. Follow Maila on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.

Ed Gilbreath, Co-Host
Formerly an editor at IVP, Ed is currently an executive leader at Christianity Today; he earned his bachelor’s in communication arts from Judson University and a master’s in philosophy of history from Olivet Nazarene University. He is also the author of two IVP books: Reconciliation Blues and Birmingham Revolution. Ed loves listening to an eclectic mix of music, reading narrative nonfiction books on American history and pop culture, and taking long walks while listening to podcasts such as NPR’s How I Built This, The Daily, Pass the Mic, and CT’s Quick to Listen. Follow Ed on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

Credits:
Producer: Helen Lee
Sound Engineer: Jonathan Clauson
Music: “Staring at the Sun” by Gyom

Support the show (https://donate.intervarsity.org/donate#47214)

Show Notes Transcript

Episode Description:
 
Fusion may be hip in 2020, but it wasn’t the case when Chandra Crane was growing up, where she felt the pain of not quite fitting in anywhere as a person with a mixed-ethnicity heritage. The daughter of a white mother and Thai birth father who was then adopted and raised by an African-American dad, Chandra experienced the pain of marginalization but then followed the prophetic call of God to write about her challenges so that others would benefit. In this honest, refreshing conversation, Chandra opens the door to understanding the mixed blessing of being a multiethnic person, and why a unique voice like hers needs to be reflected in the church today.

 **Use the code EVN40  for 40% off and free US shipping on Chandra’s new book, Mixed Blessing.**

More about Chandra:

Chandra Crane is a resource specialist for the multiethnic initiatives department of InterVarsity Christian Fellowship and a member of the multiethnic Redeemer Church in Jackson, Mississippi. She has written for In All Things, The Well, and The Witness: A Black Christian Collective. She has spoken and led worship at several local and national conferences and has also participated in online discussions for Christianity Today. She is married to Kennan, a civil engineer, and they have two spunky daughters. Chandra is a fan of hot tea, crossword puzzles, Converse shoes, and science fiction. She thoroughly enjoys reading, napping, and defying stereotypes.

How to find Chandra:

Website
Twitter
Facebook
Instagram

About the Hosts:

Maila Kim, Co-Host
Maila is IVP’s events marketing coordinator; she holds a B.A. in English Language & Literature and a B.A. in Communication Studies from the University of Michigan, and an M.A. in Christian Formation & Ministry with a concentration in Bible & Theology from Wheaton College Graduate School. She enjoys photography, growing and caring for her plants, and listening to podcasts such as This American Life, Invisibilia, and Unlocking Us. Follow Maila on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.

Ed Gilbreath, Co-Host
Formerly an editor at IVP, Ed is currently an executive leader at Christianity Today; he earned his bachelor’s in communication arts from Judson University and a master’s in philosophy of history from Olivet Nazarene University. He is also the author of two IVP books: Reconciliation Blues and Birmingham Revolution. Ed loves listening to an eclectic mix of music, reading narrative nonfiction books on American history and pop culture, and taking long walks while listening to podcasts such as NPR’s How I Built This, The Daily, Pass the Mic, and CT’s Quick to Listen. Follow Ed on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

Credits:
Producer: Helen Lee
Sound Engineer: Jonathan Clauson
Music: “Staring at the Sun” by Gyom

Support the show (https://donate.intervarsity.org/donate#47214)

Maila:

Welcome to the Every Voice Now podcast, where we bring voices of color into the spotlight. I'm Maila Kim...

Ed:

And I'm Ed Gilbreath. And in every episode, you'll hear from authors of color as they share the inspiring stories behind the making their books, and the challenges they had to endure and overcome along the way. So what are you? Have you ever been asked that question Maila?

Maila:

What are you? What am I? I mean, I'm a I'm a woman, I'm in my mid 20s. What do you mean?

Ed:

But as an Asian woman, right? As a woman of a certain ethnicity that maybe folks aren't sure. Has anyone ever randomly approached you and asked?

Maila:

Yeah, that's why I think I can respond with a little bit of sarcasm, because you know exactly what that question means. Well, let me answer in other ways, but, as an Asian American woman, I get it all the time. Being Hmong American, it's a little bit ethnically ambiguous for people who don't know what Hmong Americans are, and that they can't identify it right away. So I've gotten everything from Are you Chinese? Are you Filipino? Are you Hawaiian? All of the above? You know, my last name? Nobody knows. So that's a very familiar question that I get.

Ed:

Well, I confess, I'm probably a person, I don't usually ask the question out loud. But I am thinking it often when I see a person, it's a little ambiguous, I'm not quite sure what ethnicity he or she may be. I mean, that person's definitely mixed. My wife and I have sometimes my wife who's African American, like me, cuz we've sometimes looked at each other and said, that person's definitely mixed with something there. And I know, it could be it might sound, you know, sort of offensive in some ways, but but it's a legitimate question. We live in an era where we are able to see just the beauty of diversity of God's people in that multi ethnic, multicultural beauty on display. And wonderful thing about Chandra's book is that she gives us that perspective, from the other side, and such an important book to help us have a conversation and have the language to talk about it in the right way.

Maila:

Yeah, I love that. She even mentions that question, "So what are you?" because I think if you're a BIPOC, you may resonate with that question, or you just know, you know exactly what that question means. And so even when I was, you know, reading it, it's the premise of the book. I thought that was really interesting, because I was like, I know what she's asking. But yeah, I mean, loved our conversation with her. And I think I'm going to give a little bit of the podcast away, just because I really loved this nugget that she gave. So hopefully, this isn't spoiling the episode. Hopefully, it makes people stay on it. But she said that, you know, when people talk about multiethnicity, they're talking about different monoethnic people coming together and becoming a diverse group, but Chandra Crane is talking about "me as an individual being mixed, that's multiethnic." And when she said that, I was just, mind blown, wow, that is next level, you know, like a conversation that I don't think we're having currently, and I think needs to be had as we're thinking about future generations.

Ed:

Yes.

Maila:

Yeah. So, I mean, such a good conversation, and I really loved it. And so we hope you listeners enjoy it as much as we do. So listen up. So we're excited to welcome Chandra crane, author of mixed blessing to the Every Voice Now, podcast today. So welcome, Chandra.

Chandra:

Thank you. Thank you for having me.

Maila:

And so we're just going to kind of dive right into the questions. And so could you tell us a little bit about what you're currently doing? What's your vocation, your ministry your calling.

Chandra:

I've been on InterVarsity staff for the last about 15 years. But I just took a new position, moving away from direct campus ministry to being part of the multi ethnic initiatives team. And that's been really special in this new season of preparing to launch the book and finally about to graduate from seminary. And so on that team, we are getting together all the resources that campus staff have been creating some wonderful resources, Bible studies and even social media posters and graphics. And we're finding a way to put it all in one place specifically for ministry to mixed students and faculty

Ed:

Sounds like your book is going to be perfect...

Chandra:

It is it's, it's almost like God has got the timing.

Maila:

And could you kind of give us a short introduction of your book?

Chandra:

So the subtitle, which intervarsity Press did a wonderful job of finessing and wordsmithing, is "Embracing the Fullness of your Multiethnic Identity." And I feel like that hits the points of the book. So well, figuring out what it means to have a multiethnic or mixed identity, figuring out how it is a blessing and also acknowledging how it can be painful and difficult in a monoethnic, normative society, and then figuring out how that fits into the ministry and the calling, and being a blessing to others, as well as being a blessing to ourselves, working with some of that inner turmoil. mixed marriages, right have only been legal for 50-60 odd years. But now we're seeing generations of mixed folks actually entering into mixed mixed, mixed squared marriages, and having children who are mixed in a variety of ways. And so I think the culture is finally catching up both within Intervarsity, but also globally, nationally, to realize that, again, like I said, there's this normativity behind assuming that multiethnic means a group of people who are monoethnic, coming together, right, and as we're thinking about that Revelation, new heavens, new Earth community, realizing that there will be those of us who are multiethnic within ourselves, not just as part of a larger multiethnic body.

Maila:

Chandra, I love that you're pioneering this conversation. My nieces are half Hmong, American and half white and my sister, she talks all the time about, "How do I raise mixed kids, and what are the implications?" because this will be the first generation essentially have a lot of, mixed Hmong American kids. And so even learning how to navigate that is really interesting. So I'm excited for your book, I already told my sister all about it. So I think it'll be so good. But you know, we want to talk a little bit about even your journey as a writer. And so even as you're thinking about, when you were a child or in your youth, did you ever think that you would one day be a published author? Was that something you thought about?

Chandra:

I've loved writing ever since I was a kid, I always figured I would be a teacher. So my bachelor's is in education. I taught for a few years. And in second and third grade, I felt a calling to being able to, with my students to be able to say, things are tough, I taught in a low income school, things are tough, and I wanted to be able to tell them the next level of your learning the multiplication tables and how to read matters because Jesus loves you, you have the right to have a dignified education. I'm sure I always provided that. But I wanted to be able to go to that next level. And so that's why I joined Intervarsity, to be able to hopefully, and specifically doing graduate faculty ministry to be able to help the next generation of teachers figure out what it means to teach with dignity and affirming dignity in students and helping them to understand even if it's in a "secular", setting, and you can't mention Jesus. So that so that was the background. I feel like I'm still a teacher. Right? I feel like I'm still using my teacher education, in writing. About, whoo, 20 years ago, now, in a counseling session, I had the counselor speak a word of prophecy over me, which don't tell all of my reformed brothers hearing this. But I really believe that word of prophecy, because what they said was, well, I'm gonna get a little teary. God will use your pain and your experience to bless others through writing a book. So I have held on to that promise for the last 20 years.

Maila:

As you're thinking about holding on to that promise, as you were writing and entering that writing journey, was it easy? Was it hard? Were there moments where you were like, I'm holding on to this prophetic word, because nothing else will get me through it. We would love to just even hear about your journey as a writer, the ups, the downs, the good, the bad, all of that?

Chandra:

No, it hasn't been easy. But I have seen the ways in which God has orchestrated and paved the way. I mean, just the fact that I came up with Al Hsu, we both were young staff at about the same time. And so I saw him at least once a year as he was running the book table for our graduate faculty staff meetings. And now he's the senior editor and he's my editor. Wow, I went through a stage of becoming arrogant about the people I knew. And the things God put in my life, and then I, as a corrective it went to the opposite extreme and said, well, it's not a big deal. It's not a big deal that Jemar Tisby and I were in seminary together. It's not a big deal. But I know Al, and I think now I've come to a healthy place of clinging to that promise and saying, no, it's a big deal. And it's a gift. This is a gift. And it's kind of an absurd gift that I have these connections that I have, and I have these people who believe in me and have drawn out the best in me. But it has it's been difficult. But on the spiritual level, that there is that sense of wrestling with, oh, what does it mean to not have a quiet peaceful life, which is very Scriptural, right? But you have this grandiose, larger than life where I am blessed with these connections, and I have something of a public profile, and to not get arrogant, which is sanctification. So yeah, sanctification, but it is it's a it's a journey. And it's a difficult one. My my sweet babies have made sacrifices, and my husband has made sacrifices. So when I was feeling like giving up saying, No, I'm going to push through, I'm going to finish this draft. I'm going to do the spiritual work, because it matters, and I've gone too far to give up.

Ed:

I'm curious, Chandra, what are some of your influences? What's your reading diet like? What are some of your favorite books or authors from growing up to to the present day?

Chandra:

That's a great question. And I don't know any bibliophile, who, in some ways, has an answer right off the top of their head. As a child, I loved the Green Gables series. I also love the Laura Ingalls Wilder series, which is interesting, right as, as things have come to light, that really were there all along. And we should have seen. I remember reading that series with my parents. But I think, what did my black adoptive dad think? Was he just doing the hard minority work of trying to not be wounded and pushing aside? Things like minstrel shows and mentions of darkies that you see in Laura Ingalls Wilder, and how much was he wounded by it? So I'm now trying to kind of do a corrector that I can't remember the name of the series, but there are several series from the perspective of Natives, dealing with this colonization dealing with the westward expanse, Manifest Destiny. So those are powerful, reading those with my daughter. And then lately, as I said, I'm finishing up seminary. So my diet has been meaty, you know, commentaries and things like that. So picking out how to find joy in that has been tricky. And then of course, I can plug every IVP author that's come out recently. I mean, Esau McCaulley, I am tickled our pastor mentioned him in a sermon this past week. I love I love Imitation of Solitude and Silence. What a powerful book that is. And then, of course, I'm horribly biased, but The Color of Compromise by Jemar Tisby is so powerful.

Maila:

Yes, this is such good stuff. And we're only in our first segment of the show. So we're going to just take a quick break. But when we return, we're going to talk with Chandra about her journey of getting published. And so stay tuned. And thank you guys for listening to the Every Voice Now podcast. We are still stuck in this global pandemic. And we have no idea how long this will take. And so I'm sure everyone is wondering how we can thrive through these challenging days.

Ed:

It won't surprise you to know that we think reading is a great way to feed your heart, mind and soul. An IVP can help. Visit EveryVoiceNow.com, and you'll find new and forthcoming releases from IVP by authors of color. And stay tuned for a special discount on today's featured book. Well, welcome back to the Every Voice Now podcast. I'm Ed Gilbreath. And with us today is our very special guest, Chandra Crane, author of Mixed Blessing, which releases on December 15. Very exciting. So let's talk about your journey to reach this point in publishing a book. I know from personal experience, what a huge undertaking it is to actually write a book to have the audacity that you could write a book, but it's a huge task for you, for your family, for your sanity. Could you tell us a little bit when did you start thinking, "I could do this? I'm gonna write a book."

Chandra:

That's a great question. So another book, another IVP book that was foundational for me was Sundee Tucker Frazier's Check All That Apply, right. And the first time I read that was in 2006. And it was the first time anyone had said to me, it is good that you're mixed, it would not be better for you to have monoethnic, this is something Lord has done, which was so healing and so powerful. And so I bought several copies and gave them to everyone I could find who I thought they would bless. And then suddenly, I couldn't find any more copies, because it went out of print. And so I started, I mean, I'll be honest, I started harassing poor Al. I said, "Why are these on the table?" And his response was, well, we need the next generation. We need the updated book, both in terms of new challenges and new things, such as having mixed folks having mixed children. There was a certain point in which, gosh, probably nine years ago now, another friend who's also on staff, Andy Kim, looked at me and he said, "Well, why don't you write it," which is the most horrifying, beautiful, terrifying, empowering thing you could say to someone, right? Who is clinging to this prophecy of you will write someday. And I had done some articles by this point and done a few things. So that began a long journey, like I said, nine years ago, right? So life ebbs and flows, you have children, you have seminary, you have family matters, you have all sorts of things that that are important and good. And so focusing on those, but I guess three years ago, now, the writing workshop out, and Lisa Rieck offered the writing workshop for InterVarsity staff. And so I went to that. And so that was the beginning of writing a proposal, hopefully impossibly go under contract, which, right, as I'm sure you guys know, the most terrible, terrifying idea is submitting a proposal, and not not being accepted for whatever reason, that book not being something that is needed by that publisher. The second most terrifying thing is being under contract. Saying, legally, contractually obligated, give this book and write it to give this piece of my heart to give time, yes, this piece of who I am. So it has been quite a journey. But the whole way I've had people saying, perceive this birth, do this at the point or pursue this at the rate that God has for you. But yes, it is coming. Eventually you will be in that place where you can write this book.

Ed:

I wanted to ask you a question about your ethnic background. And that's probably a key piece of, of your book and your writing through your experience. But could you share what is your, your ethnic background?

Chandra:

Sure. So that like everything else, is not an easy answer. ethnically, my mom is white American. My birth father was a Thai national. So they met when he came over to the US to New Mexico to to get his college education. But things didn't work out between them. And so eventually, I was five, my mom remarried, and she remarried a black man. And so he adopted me he was the only dad I knew, I did not meet my birth father before he passed away. And of course, he's the one who raised me, who taught me how to ride a bike and who walked me down the aisle. He actually passed away a while ago. So that was an interesting moment of grief and also reflecting on my ethnic and cultural story. I also grew up in New Mexico. So part being part of that culture which is in itself a mestizo culture. Right you have the the intersection of Native peoples, specifically, Navajo or Denae peoples with Mexican folks. I grew up with fusion I grew up with, again, everything that's popular now, it definitely informed on the painful side, the sense of I don't fit in anywhere. But I think what I'm realizing now 40 years later, after, you know, I started this journey on the earth. realizing it also formed in me, a sense of we're not home yet, so that when it became a believer in college, things started to click, things started to connect. I started to connect the dots of there's something good about not being too comfortable. And also this sense of finding beauty in so many different cultures. And in this sense of joy of what it means to to have a meal that's fusion, right a meal that has green chile, from New Mexico and fish sauce, not black from Thailand, and all sorts of things.

Ed:

Yeah, absolutely. What is your family look like today?

Chandra:

Great question. My, my husband's, I married is a white American, but he grew up with parents who hosted a lot of international students. So he actually grew up celebrating the Moon Festival and making dumplings. Right. So he has this heart for multiculturalism. And and we have the blessing of being part of a multiethnic church. Here in Jackson, where we have, we have one of the few head pastors teaching elders who is African American, within our denomination. And I feel spoiled, right? Because it's always I've got an easy raising my kids in a multi ethnic, multicultural world is not as hard for me as it might be for other folks.

Ed:

Right. Quickly, back to the question about the process of writing a book. I'm curious, what was the process like for you? And what were what were the biggest challenges or hurdles that you had to overcome to actually get this book done?

Chandra:

Sure. Specifically, definitely, definitely, that timeframe of trying to find places to write literally as well as schedule wise. Wanting to be with my kids to write and, and also finding, I think it goes back to a sense of calling, I believe firmly that being a mom and a wife is very important. But also I don't want to idolize that. And even while I want to value stay at home moms, housewives, those who are really never getting a vacation or a break, right? affirming myself on my own calling that I am writing, I'm doing campus ministry, and I can do that well. And not abandon my family wholly. Right. That is probably not the short answer. But there you go.

Ed:

What what key piece of advice would you give to other authors of color who are thinking about? Maybe I have a book in me? What kinds of encouragement would you give them?

Chandra:

Yeah, that's a great question. I think, relying on community, not being too proud to write it's easier said than done. But there is a certain actual humility aspect in being able to say yes, please take my kids to the park, because I can't and, and being willing to say, It's okay, to not be selfish, but to put myself first so that I can bear this book into life so that I can burn this book so that I can make this book a resource to other people of color as well as the dominant culture,

Ed:

We need to take one more break. But when we return, we will talk more with Chandra about her book Mixed Blessing, and what makes her the right person to have written this book. So stay tuned. And thanks for listening to the Every Voice Now podcast. It's time for our Behind the Books segment where we pull back the curtain and give you more of the behind the scenes publishing stories of our guests books. Today, you'll hear from Al Hsu, who served as the editor for Chandra's book, take a listen.

Al Hsu:

I'm Al Hsu, I'm a senior editor at InterVarsity Press. I've been at IVP for 26 years now. And over the last 19 years or so I've worked with about 280 authors on 350 some books. And I recently counted up and found out that 70 of those books were written by authors of color, about 20%. And I'm thrilled that we are now adding Chandra Crane to that list of authors and books with her book. 18 years ago, we published a book, Check All That Apply by Sundee Frazier. And that was the first book from a Christian publisher about what it meant to be biracial, to have a multiracial multi ethnic identity. And it was a it was a groundbreaking book at the time, probably ahead of its time. And Check All That Apply is now out of print. And so we've been looking, we've been saying we need a book like this for the next generation, especially as the country continues to diversify, and they're younger people grappling with issues of identity and what it means to be biracial, multiethnic. And so one of the things I really appreciate about her is how she gives voice to this tension with this sense of you never know who you are or where you fit in. But they're you're here for a reason and all the parts of who you are all that God has gifted you and your identity and your heritage and cultural background, is there for a purpose and is there to minister to others and to bless others. Other challenges during the editorial process was that when the book came back from editing, we discovered that Chandra's voice had been muted or changed in a few ways that didn't sound like and this was this highlighted to us the the challenges when editorial staff who are predominantly white are unfamiliar with ethnic distinctives of people of color, authors of color and those that they are describing and sharing their stories and perspectives. So, Chandra pushed back. And I'm glad she did. Because we were able to go back and say, here's what happened in the editing process. And here's what we can do to make those voices was to restore those voices and make sure that they are heard in ways that are consistent with their identity. So it was a learning experience wrapped up how we edit, and how we represent our authors. What is my hope for what this book will do? Well, I can speak as a parent because I am the parent of two biracial children. And I hope that this book is for them and others like them, that they see themselves in this book that they are seen. And they feel seen, they feel recognized that ah, somebody gets me somebody understands what it's like to have this, this mixed bicultural, multi ethnic background. And if Chandra can forge a way in the world of being who she fully is, that gives me hope that people like my sons and others like them can find their way as well.

Maila:

You're listening to the Every Voice Now podcast and I'm Maila Kim. So today, we've been talking with author Chandra Crane about her new book, Mixed Blessing, which releases again, December 15. And so Chandra, can you tell us a little bit about your book? I know, we've been talking about the journey and the process and more about your experience as a writer. But where did the genesis of the idea come from what inspired you or motivated you?

Chandra:

So the idea came, as I said, from Check All That Apply, Sundee Frazier's book. And I think Ed had mentioned before the break that we would talk about what made me the right person to write this book, why is this the right time. And I was able to actually have a conversation with Sundee to interview her some and just pick her brain for all the wonderful things that brought her to the point of writing check all. And by the end of the conversation, I was crying, she was crying. One of the most precious things she said was, this is your time, you are the right person for this book. And she said, I've been praying for the person that would come along and take up this new mantle. So she did such a beautiful job of passing the baton to me, yeah, encouraging me and bestowing on me, this this weighty project of telling the story of so many mixed folks. And so that's another thing that I've been carrying with me during the difficult times. Was that blessing that she bestowed on me to say, yes, absolutely, I will speak a word of truth and encouragement over you. This is the time you are the person. And I've had Al say that as well. And usually in his wonderful dry way, when I'm having my author angst, he would say, this is you. Go write. Your time, go write, you can do this go. Right. Yeah, it's it's been sweet to have a multitude of people speaking that over me.

Maila:

You know, thank you for that. Because I think, I think sometimes we forget the courage that it requires for authors to write because it's not just content you're giving. It's its vulnerability. It's your story. It's, you know, bits and pieces of you. And so, like you said, heavy, I think is the right word. Because it's such, it's your experience that you're giving to people, not just words on a page and information, right. And so thank you for carrying that. Talk a little bit about your book, maybe the issue or the problem that you wanted your book to solve, or, you know, what is the solution that you're trying to provide?

Chandra:

I think the issue is not being seen. People not seeing mixed folks within their spheres of influence within their churches within their communities. And so, in large part, just giving a voice to, to all the people I interviewed, being interested again, to tell their stories in the book, and to, to give them a voice but with my own voice as a writer, figuring out what it means to to point out, hey, we're here. And we deserve voice and we need a voice figure out what it means to say, actually, those of us who are people of color who either have a mixture of all minority voices, right, so someone who is as as one man in the book is Japanese and Chinese, or those of us who are mixed with something white, having the authority and the ability to say we are not allies to the fight for justice. We are people of color, but but because we bear either pale skinned privilege or the privilege of being on ethnic and not being questioned quite as much, there is an aspect What does it look like to be in this justice fight without denigrating our own phenotypical expressions, while saying Black Lives Matter, brown lives are beautiful, to hold that intention to fight against colorism, but not also, hate our own bodies is a story that's difficult to tell. But it's sweet to tell. And I think also, in addition to providing the visibility for those with mixed stories, also providing that community that place to say we deserve to have a space where we can lament and laugh together about what it means to be unseen, the awkwardness of code switching, the sense of never being home, but also making a home wherever you go. It has been really powerful just to start that conversation, or even further that conversation, because it's been started, but to further that conversation, in this specific time for this year, for this generation, and say, This is our table, we deserve to come here, we don't have to stand awkwardly in the background. We don't even have to bring our own folding chair, we get beautiful carved chairs to do this analogy to that. We deserve to sit at this table as full members and, and break bread with others like us. And that that is actually God's vision for it. That is what he wants for us to affirm people. And that has been really powerful.

Maila:

I wish we had like five hours because I felt like in one answer was 10 podcast episodes. Man, so much to talk about. And I think just how necessary it is for voices like yours and your voice to be heard during especially a time like this. And so I know we want to kind of wrap it up. But I wanted to ask you, why does your particular ethnic voice, you're missing your mixed ethnic voice? Why does it matter in a subject like this, and what's lost without your voice? And what is gained with your voice being able to contribute to this world?

Chandra:

I'm very wordy. God bless Al, he has edited me while retaining my voice and helped me to figure out how to answer things succinctly. But with nuance, right, which is definitely the mixed story. I think, because I am a particular personality type I am. Because I'm not an indirect communicator, because I am very direct. And I was raised in a culture where you just tell it like it is. I think that's been powerful for, for me having that sense of privilege, but also having the sense of this privilege to bring that together, what does it look like to to have a voice that is direct and says, "Hey, I'm here," but in a humble way, in a way that doesn't denigrate and belittle other voices, and in a way that can work with a majority culture, with people who are primarily privileged to open their eyes. And to say, here is a way that you are missing the least of these and let me walk with you, as much as I feel strong. And as much as I feel able. And maybe let this community walk with you in seeing your privilege and stewarding it well. And so I'm grateful for the ways in which my upbringing and my personality and my experiences have given me that place to do both to speak truth to power, but also to, to receive rest and to receive a sense of value and to receive a blessing.

Maila:

And then we're going to wrap it up with this last question. And so what is one area in the church where a voice like yours is sorely needed? But currently missing?

Chandra:

I only get one area?

Maila:

Multiple if you would like say it all?

Chandra:

Check all that apply? Yes. So I'll say one, one overreaching area, one broad area, I think, as I alluded to earlier, is the fight for justice. And is the reminder to tell the church. One, you don't have to do this on your own. So to majority culture, pastors and congregations, you don't have to do this all on your own. In fact, we don't want you to do this all on your own, because that's not true justice. But also to say, here's the way to engage justice with nuance, to look at complicated things and not try and just reduce them to their basis area to not try and reduce them to the simplest expression. But to say, this is actually nuanced, and it's complicated, and it's uncomfortable, and we don't have all the answers. Yeah. So speaking that truth into them and then speaking, as I said, rest into minority communities into mixed stories and saying, I love to be the bridge ministry, but I feel like white folks should have to be the bridge not mixed, folks. Because a lot of times, that's what we're asked, we're not asked to build bridges, which is powerful and good. We're asked to be bridges. And as, as other philosophers and theologians have said, the bridge isn't my back. So I think it was Ekemini Uwan who quoted Gloria ____ saying, No, you don't have to walk over me to reach a place of justice and goodness and valuable, multicultural churches, you get to help me have the bricks that I need. And let's build this bridge together. And I think that's very important. Because we're tired, right? minorities are tired. I think mixed minorities are tired in a very unique way.

Maila:

Well, thank you, Chandra, for your time, and just so much of your wisdom. It's just we're so excited to have you on the show in this podcast. And so we look forward to seeing the impact your book has on the US and the world. Thank you.

Chandra:

Thank you for having me. And, you know, I'll plug it IVP again, thank you for highlighting my voice and being willing not because it's trendy or because it's the bottom line in terms of finances, but being willing to take a risk on authors of color, again, not because we're risky, but because the system is broken. And so it is risky for a publisher to say, No, we're going to highlight these folks and their voices, no matter what the cost. So thank you very much.

Maila:

And I'm so glad we could talk to Chandra today. I mean, it was such a good story of how her unique background and her story actually resulted in this new book called Mixed Blessing. And so can you let people know how to find out more about Chandra if they're interested?

Ed:

Absolutely. You could find her website at ChandraCrane. om, you can follow her at T itter at ChandraLCrane or on I stagram @mixedblessingbook. An her book Mixed Blessing can be found at IVpress.com and if you use the code EVN4 you can get 40% off and free shipping in the US. So take adva tage of that great deal. You co ld find out all of these detail on our webpage at EveryVoiceNo .com where you'll find als the show notes for this episod and much more.

Maila:

Thanks for listening to the Every Voice Now podcast brought to you by IVP. Our producer is Helen Lee and Jonathan Clauson is our sound engineer. We'd be grateful if you could review and recommend us on iTunes, Spotify, or wherever you listen to your favorite podcasts. And we'd love feedback. So please feel free to get in touch with us with your comments, critiques or questions. You can find us on Instagram and Twitter @EveryVo ceNow. Or you can email us at [email protected] And so j in us next time for another nspiring episode of Every Vo ce Now.