I picked up this zine because of its title: “Wait 5 minutes, it will change.” This is a common saying in New Orleans in reference to the erratic weather patterns, and as a New Orleans native, I found this to be very compelling. A letter from the zine creator—with an apt instruction to “Start Here”—greets the reader when they open the zine, declaring that the works within are dedicated to the “two-year commemoration of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita on the Gulf Coast, and to the city of New Orleans.” Lewis Wallace, the creator, tries to explain the two themes of the zine: New Orleans reconstruction and life as a trans person. While I loved both themes in themselves, I was hard pressed to see the connection between the two subjects throughout the zine. It seemed as if the pieces were written with no intention of being displayed next to each other. Overall, though, I enjoyed the writing and the use of mixed media—photography, maps, poetry, and prose—and I was greatly moved by the works presented within this piece.
There are two writers in this issue, Bamboo and Dumpling, who write entries with titles from “Language and Liberation” and “Appropriation and Appreciation” to “Barbies” and “Work on Your Own Shit,” and the subjects of the entries span a wide array of topics such as racism, sexism, identity, generational differences and pressures, immigration, solidarity, cultural appreciation, politics. It was interesting because, since it was a zine from New Zealand, it was the first international zine I have read. This was even more enlightening because it was a zine that talked about race and ethnicity, and I could learn about these issues as they relate to a different continent. Although racism has some underlying commonalities, there were some differences between the racism in the United States and the racism in Aotearoa.
There were many quotes that I found to be true, such as “racism is not an opinion, it is a system,” which talks about the idea of institutionalized racism and how some people accept racism as a reflection of somebody’s personal views instead of realizing or recognizing the systemic issues involved. “Mellow Yellow” also mentions “internal racism.” Racism is already a topic which many people, especially the media, etc., are reluctant to broach, but internal racism is even talked about and acknowledged less. She says that “But I think internal racism is caused by the insecurities created because of external racism. It is something that would not exist if we did not live in a colonial and racist culture.” This also speaks to the historical entrenchment of racism. It mentions that although it has become more fluid and may not be as easy to spot obviously or pinpoint, the legacy of racism and colonialism is still very prominent all over the world in different societies.
This zine also includes poems and includes Chinese characters throughout the English passages, I assume to preserve the authenticity of the original meanings of the words that don’t have direct translations into English. The writers also shared the viewpoints of their families and older relatives. There was an example of a family gathering where half of the people present were speaking Mandarin to each other while the younger generation was running around in European style clothes and speaking English. This story showed this clash of ideas about assimilation and identity. More old-school and traditional views often conflict with the views of children of immigrants, who are usually more willing to accept the styles and ideas of the culture of their surroundings. The zinesters who compiled this zine show both sides, which I think is an interesting aspect to this zine, and anybody who has family members from a different country or culture can relate to this.