For the inaugural issue of Hold the Line, an international collective of more than two dozen writers and artists, representing diverse backgrounds, contributed articles, essays, and poetry. Bringing with them sensitive topics normally held within the confines of close social circles. Complicated subjects like the dangers of ignoring race and the unique challenges of raising children of color are brought out into the open in hopes of creating tangible change in the way families interact with each other. These honest essays and solution-based articles are partnered with quality design and vibrant images. Below, you’ll find a very small portion of the content in our first issue. We hope you’ll enjoy, and perhaps consider subscribing to our 2018 collection. Peace.
“Faced with the obvious pride my son has in his racial identity, the woman on the train displayed a post-racial reaction laced with nationalism. White people, in particular, struggle with how to relate to conversations and ideas surrounding racial identity and thus fall back on post-racial thinking to ease their guilt and discomfort. Post-racial ideology is predicated on the belief that race does not matter to an individual person, and the erasure of race from the equation is summed up often in one phrase: “I don’t see color.” This philosophy often benefits whiteness above all else as it seeks to erase the racial identity of marginalized races and perpetuates the current pattern of systematic racism by preventing authentic conversations about race.” – Eun Ji Rogers “Ignoring Race, Erasing Identity: The Dangers of Post Racial Ideology”
“With this history in mind, I think it is fair to say that most women of color in America today are operating from a framework of oppression and overwhelm; doing the most from a place of lack. It’s almost impossible to imagine what would happen if we collectively had enough.” – Rachel Zaslow, First there is Homebase
“I corrected an elder when they were culturally insensitive in front of my children. They did not clutch their chest and fall over dead. Instead, they used sensitive and appropriate language the next time we spoke. I may not be able to change Uncle White’s mind. Uncle White may never see a glimpse of the world beyond the wall. My commitment, however, is to the younger generation.” – Dusti Power, “The Calling in of Uncle White”
“Since we’re the inheritors of a racist society that inherently benefits us, the very least we can do is stay in the room when conversations about race get uncomfortable. When people of color tell us about their experiences or their feelings, we need to stay in the room. Even if they express anger. Even if it feels accusatory. Even if it feels unfair. Even if it feels hopeless. We need to stay in the room.” – Annie Reneau, “White People We Need to Stay in the Room”
“Dismantling microaggressions and marginality requires us first to acknowledge the problem, but the pushback to this long overdue task comes from the same people who are the first to raise their hands when the teacher rhetorically asks non-racists to identify themselves. Racism isn’t binary. There is no dichotomy between explicit and implicit racism. Racism isn’t a checkbox where your only options are “yes” and “no.” Instead, it is more productive to recognize racism as a spectrum where dismissive attitudes uphold white supremacy.” – Jessica Chong, “Yes, Representation Always Matters”
“The fact that my six-year-old does not know there are bad words in the world that people will hurl at him simply because he is Black is our fault as his parents. We hide this truth to shield him from the harsh realities he will have to confront some day. We attempt to protect him, and that has led us to this situation. As Black parents we know the difficult road ahead of our kids, the eggshells and landmines they’ll be forced to navigate. We want to shield them from the realities of the world for as long as possible because they are so young. But by doing that, are we failing them? I wonder, are white parents doing a better job at raising race-conscious kids?” – Kearie Daniel, “That Time My Son Called me a Racial Slur”
“By high school, conversations can expand on systemic racism and zero in on the question of how to address disparities and underlying causes. You might engage in ongoing discussion about “equity” versus “equality.” For example, you might be watching the news together and see a report of a study revealing that Black people have higher rates of cancer. You can ask your child about stereotypes or other false assumptions they may have, modeling first by sharing the biases you bring to your consumption of media. After establishing this foundation of critical self-reflection, turn the conversation to a discussion about the content of the report, perhaps speaking about health disparities and why Black people might not have access or might not trust medical providers.” – Antonia Montoya, “A Beginner’s Guide to Conversations About Race”
“My son’s physical appearance affords him privilege and protection. I have been told how “lucky” I am that he presents as white. I refuse to accept the privilege of his presumed whiteness. To accept it without question or examination is not only to be a part of the continuation of systemic racism but to further empower the foundation that created the system. A foundation born out of anti-blackness and a belief in the sanctity of whiteness.” – Naomi Raquel Enright “Rejecting the Poison”
“To say that I’m lucky is an oversimplification of a complex truth; I am grateful that as a baby my biological family cared so much for my health and well-being that they risked (and ultimately fell victim to) losing me, and I am also grateful that I was adopted by a family that was willing and able to care for my needs comfortably and love me the best they could. But the word luck implies an unmarred benefit, or an escape from an unwanted situation. After returning to South Korea in my 20’s, I discovered I was not unwanted by my biological parents. They wanted me. To say I am lucky neglects to acknowledge the painful injustice my biological parents endured and the complex emotions and thoughts I still struggle to put into words.” – Jade Chiu, “I Wasn’t Lucky, I Was a Commodity”
“We are white enough when it supports the narrative that economic disparity between races is due to lack of willpower, work ethic, and cultural values rather than discrimination, systematic disenfranchisement, and systemic racism. We are white enough when it supports the narrative that Blacks are stopped by police and gunned down by police at higher rates because, unlike Asian Americans, they don’t know how to act or behave properly with authority. Do not think for a second that should there be war with China or North Korea that there would not be a repeat of history. Do not think that if you are some other type of Asian American that you will be safe. No one will stop to confirm you are the correct type of Asian before they hurt you.” -Virginia Duan, “Asian Americans: We Will Never Be White Enough”
“Most socially constructed systems that we interact with daily have oppressive origins that perpetuate stereotypes. Current day social issues are rooted in key points in U.S. history. The 13th amendment was celebrated because it eradicated slavery; however, many scholars today recognize its role in an unbroken chain of policies and persecutions that have given rise to the modern prison industrial complex. The amendment allowed law enforcement to imprison African-Americans, who continued to be subjected to the equivalent of slave labor while incarcerated.** When you study history from a social justice perspective, you develop critical thinking skills that enable your family to start recognizing systemic injustices and valuing diversity in all aspects of life.” – Charlene Holkenbrink-Monk, “5 Steps to Help Your Family Embrace Diversity”
“People assume my daughters are not my children, me being unmistakenly of African origin with my brown skin and huge mane of frizzy curls. A woman in the local park once asked if I was their nanny. Another time, at a music festival, a Nigerian man, looked back and forth between me and them repeatedly, before he asked outright if they were my children. The look of confusion on his face wasn’t surprising— I would assume they weren’t mine, too. I see myself in my daughters’ mannerisms and expressions, but when we look in the mirror the differences are unavoidable.
I am overwhelmed by the myriad of ways the difference in our skin colour could negatively affect our relationship in the future. Therefore, I’m apprehensive about pushing a major dialogue on race with my children. I worry that in their awkward teenage years, a time when assimilation means everything, they will resent me, their Black mother.” – Janaya Pickett, Giving Birth to White Girls
During times of crisis, we mobilize, we march, we protest, we write, we have hard conversations, and we make donations. Afterwards, we have to find a way to live with our newly altered view of the world and, as parents, we also have to find ways to help our children move forward. Having a social justice practice as a touchstone is a vital part of helping you re-center. When a crisis happens notice how you react physically. If your body gets tight – stretch. If you feel antsy or jittery – go for a walk or run. If your anxiety mounts about their safety, play with your children and offer lots of snuggles and hugs.
I have always found myself trying to reconcile my non-stereotypical existence with the realities of societal expectations. Never in my life have I been afforded the ignorance required to be oblivious to skin color. Never in my life have I had the privilege necessary to ignore and separate myself from race. Which leaves me here carrying a wealth of baggage that holds within it some useful pockets of hard-earned, trauma-packed clarity. I am Black, yes, and my Blackness is precious. It is somehow both fragile and monumental, both unearned and invaluable, delicate to the point that I would never have risked shattering it by admitting that Blackness was painful, too. I’ve skirted around it and hidden behind it and pretended to not see it, but in every town and every school, in every city and every suburb, my Blackness made sure to occupy the center of every experience. – Bellamy Shoffner, “When Color is Clear”
At Hold the Line Magazine, we believe in honesty, real stories, developing empathy, and most of all, making tangible change. It might start with an excerpt or a full article, or an issue or a subscription. It might be every story or one story, in particular, that motivates you to move. Whatever the catalyst, we hope you’ll consider the power each of you has to change the narrative for yourselves and for our children.