When institutions crumble and old laws fall; when new stories and voices shed light on the fractures and gaps in our modes of thinking and language; when we realize that routine methods of categorization fail to encompass the wholeness of one’s life experience––and, beyond that, we understand that they need not define the depth of one’s identity––the question that crops up, then, is what are we to do instead? How ought we to think, to speak, to write, to live? How ought we to see ourselves and be seen by others? Beyond that, who does God say we are?
In his introduction to Chandra Crane’s Mixed Blessing: Embracing the Fullness of Your Multiethnic Identity (InterVarsity Press, 2020), Jemar Tisby writes: “When it comes to race and ethnicity, we want to drop people into carefully labeled slots: Black, White, Asian, Native, and more. But what happens when our convenient categories don’t work (not that they ever did)? What happens to the people who have a blend of backgrounds? Where do we situate others and ourselves when the colors, cultures, languages, and aesthetics are mixed?”
Mixed Blessing helps answer those questions. As the daughter of a Thai birth father and European American mother, and later adopted by an African American father, Crane has grappled with these themes all her life. Mixed Blessing, then, functions as her response: what it means to be mixed, how to embrace story over stereotype, and the big picture of mixed identity within church and society. In the introduction, Crane writes: “The heart of our mixed story is that no one person can embody multi-ethnicity in its entirety; we need each other so we can place ourselves in God’s larger narrative.” She then goes on to explain where and how multiethnic Christians can find identity: “The beauty and mystery of Christ’s identity is that he can strengthen and undergird this reality in us. Our mixed identity is a gift to be offered back to him in service, as we are one with him and partnering with him to speak the good news of hope and healing.”
To read Mixed Blessing is to explore the pains and triumphs of multiethnicity––to be seen, for readers who are multiethnic, and to understand, for those who are not. Beyond this, the book shows how, amid human confusion over these questions, God folds our human struggles with identity into the greater chronicle He’s crafted for mankind.
To receive a digital copy of Chandra Crane’s Mixed Blessing, consider becoming a member of Christ and Pop Culture for as little as $5 per month. You’ll get free stuff each month, full access to our digital Christ and Pop Culture Magazine (including all back issues), entrance to our exclusive members-only group on Facebook—and you’ll help us keep the lights on. Join now.