Episode 38 – In Between: Races, Languages, & Religions

Guest: Tamara Jong

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“When you’re mixed-race, someone’s always telling you who you’re not.”
 
That’s the first line from Tamara Jong‘s personal essay, “In Between,” which succinctly captures the essence of what it means to be mixed-race. After experiencing the essay—and I did experience it because I could relate to it with my entire being—I wanted to speak with Tamara about her experience of being in between races, languages, and religions. We spoke in November of 2019 about growing up in these liminal spaces and her journey to find a footing, an identity, and a community. 
 
After our conversation, Tamara messaged me to say that one way she’s been finding a sense of belonging is through her own writing and other writers. She’s been actively connecting with other Canadian Asian writers and has been purposely reading more books from fellow Canadian Asian writers like Jen Sookfong Lee, Wayson Choy, and she’s been getting to know and befriend writers like Carrianne Leung, Yilin Wang, Phoebe Wang, Isabella Wang, and Leanne Dunic. For example, Tamara did an interview with Yilin Wang, who told Tamara that it was nice to be interviewed by a fellow Asian writer. Tamara told me that her heart swelled, because she felt seen and accepted. 
 
There’s power in sharing and reading our stories … so much power to transform our lives that the simple act of reading or hearing about someone else’s shared experience can make someone feel like they belong in a world that often Others and devalues them.
Tamara Jong is a Canada-born mixed-race writer and cartoonist of Chinese and European ancestry. 
 
What follows is her performance of her personal essay, “In Between,” as well as our conversation.

GUEST

Tamara Jong (she/her) is a Montréal (Tiohtià:ke) born mixed-race writer and cartoonist of Chinese and European ancestry. Her work has appeared in Anomaly, Carte Blanche, Room Magazine, Body & Soul; Stories for Skeptics and Seekers, and The Nasiona. She is a graduate of The Writer’s Studio (Simon Fraser University), a part of Room Magazine’s collective and currently enrolled in the Sequential Arts Workshop comic certificate program. She currently lives and works on Treaty 3 territory, the occupied and ancestral lands of the Haudenosaunee, Anishinabewaki, Attiwonderonk, and Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation (Guelph, ON).

Instagram + Twitter: @Bokchoygurl

tamaraljong.com

HOST

Julián Esteban Torres López (he/him/his/él) is a bilingual, Colombia-born cultural worker with Afro-Euro-Indigenous roots. For two decades, Julián has studied systems of oppression and has worked toward humanizing those who have been socially, politically, and geographically excluded from the hierarchies of power by centering, elevating, and amplifying their voices, experiences, and histories. He is the founder of the social justice storytelling organization The Nasiona, where he also hosts and produces The Nasiona Podcast. He’s a Pushcart Prize and Best Small Fictions nominee, a Trilogy Award in Short Fiction finalist, and the author of Marx’s Humanism and Its Limits and Reporting On Colombia. His work appears in PANK MagazineInto the Void MagazineThe Acentos Review, Burningword Literary Journal, among others. Julián holds a bachelor’s in philosophy and in communication and a master’s in justice studies from the University of New Hampshire and was a Ph.D. candidate at the University of British Columbia Okanagan, where he focused on political science and Latin American studies.

Twitter and Instagram: @je_torres_lopez

jetorreslopez.com

 

The Nasiona Podcast amplifies the voices and experiences of the marginalized, undervalued, overlooked, silenced, and forgotten, as well as gives you a glimpse into Othered worlds. We focus on stories that explore the spectrum of human experiencesstories based on facts, truth-seeking, human concerns, real events, and real people, with a personal touch. From liminal lives to the marginalized, and everything in between, we believe that the subjective can offer its own reality and reveal truths some facts can’t discover. Hosted, edited, and produced by Julián Esteban Torres López

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Original music for The Nasiona Podcast was produced by the Grammy Award-winning team of Joe Sparkman and Marcus Allen, aka The Heavyweights.
Joe Sparkman: Twitter + Instagram. Marcus Allen: Twitter + Instagram.

The Nasiona Magazine and Podcast depend on voluntary contributions from readers and listeners like you. We hope the value of our work to our community is worth your patronage. If you like what we do, please show this by liking, rating, and reviewing us; buying or recommending our books; and by financially supporting our work either through The Nasiona’s Patreon page or through Julián Esteban Torres López‘s Ko-fi donation platform. Every little bit helps.

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