As people of color, the idea leaked into our lives even though we aren’t privy to the same advantages of being white

Photo: Alexandra Ribeiro/EyeEm/Getty Images

I’m mad at imposter syndrome for stealing time, energy, confidence, and a sense of self-efficacy from people of color. We don’t have time for that. We don’t need to make time for that.

Recently I’ve seen a number of social media posts by friends of color and acquaintances of color talking about dealing with imposter syndrome, and I despair that any of us should feel like impostors, ever, when regimes of whiteness, capitalism, and colonialism have already extracted so much from our communities. That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t have doubts, or question ourselves, or acknowledge when we fail or make…

Photo Illustration: Save As / Medium; Photo courtesy of Sun Yung Shin

Raised by white Americans, poet Sun Yung Shin meditates on child abandonment, secrets, and fate through the famed Oedipus myth

“A creature that hides and ‘withdraws into its shell,’ is preparing a ‘way out.’ This is true of the entire scale of metaphors, from the resurrection of a man in his grave, to the sudden outburst of one who has long been silent. If we remain at the heart of the image under consideration, we have the impression that, by staying in the motionlessness of its shell, the creature is preparing temporal explosions, not to say whirlwinds, of being.” —Gaston Bachelard, The Poetics of Space

“Wolves in shells are crueler than stray ones.” —Gaston Bachelard, The Poetics of Space


“The Great Seal of the State of Minnesota became official in 1861, with the present design legislated in 1983. It depicts a barefoot farmer plowing his field near St. Anthony Falls on the Mississippi River. His axe is driven into a tree trunk, with his rifle and powderhorn nearby. An Indian on horseback rides south, a summer setting sun in the background. The state motto, “L’Etoile du Nord”, or “Star of the North”, appears on a banner above the scenery. Around these images is the outermost ring, which reads “The Great Seal of the State of Minnesota”. The bottom of…

Kappa Alpha Theta sorority spring pledge class, Fresno State College, March 7th, 1964, Lance Nix, Creative Commons

“The world is before you and you need not take it or leave it as it was when you came in.” — James Baldwin

Because I currently make my living as a freelancer in the arts and education realms, I suppose I end up giving white women a lot of power, although I am also supported by white women who hire me and with whom I work to get things done that we both agree should be done. It’s transactional – and both impersonal and personal. I find it can be hard to map the blurs between power, gratitude, ingratitude…

Synonyms for flammable: combustible, incendiary, unstable, ignitable

A Burning Campfire. | Photo Credit: Thomas Hawk

On the morning of November 15, 2015, white Minneapolis police officers Mark Ringgenberg and Jason Schwartze shot to death Jamar Clark, an unarmed Black man they had on the ground.

On March 30, 2016, Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman, a white man, announced he would not bring charges against the officers.

My fourth book, an anthology of sixteen essays by Native writers and writers of color on racism in Minnesota, would come out two weeks after. In the introduction to A Good Time for the Truth: Race in Minnesota (Minnesota Historical Society Press, April 2016) I recommend that white people…

“Whiteness is a metaphor for power.” — James Baldwin

I’m tired of hearing about “well-intentioned white people.” I’ve started to ask myself what that really means when white people say that, often with a chagrinned look on their face, as if to say, Yeah, white people are dumb about race but can you blame them? They just don’t know any better. They’re just innocent. They were just born not knowing. White discourse that excuses white supremacy, probably the most vicious, sadistic force in the history of humanity, asks non-white people to be duped again, and again. White helplessness, especially in…

Sun Yung Shin

MAT, MFA. Writer, poet, editor, bodyworker, gardener. She/they. Author or editor of nine books, including two forthcoming in 2022.

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