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Where Y'all Really From: 'Disentangle yourself from your historical self'


Sometimes you expect to talk about poetry and knitting, but you end up talking about disentangling race, love and relationships. Or at least you do if you're Dan Wu and this week's guest, Danni Quintos.

Danni is an Affrilachian poet, a mom, an educator, and a knitter. She lives in Lexington. Danni's dad is from the Philippines, and her mom is half-Japanese, half-white.

"White American, Japanese, Philippines..." Dan says. "Three countries that literally have been at war with each other, colonized each other, brutalized each other in every direction in that triangle."

Danni responds : "How do you decolonize when you're the product of colonization?"

Her parents met at a Japanese restaurant in Lexington, where she was waiting tables and he was a dishwasher who worked his way up to Hibachi chef. Danni's maternal grandparents loved their daughter's boyfriend. Her dad's side? Not so much.

"My dad's mother, she was born in 1939, in the Philippines," Danni says. "So she grew up during Japanese occupation, and has a lot of deep-seated resentment and bitterness towards all Japanese people, people culture, everything."

It didn't take long for a similar barrier to spring up in Danni's own life. "I had a crush on a kid who was white, for a long time--like one of those like nagging crushes," Danni says. She thinks she was around 7 or 8.

"I confessed my my crush to this kid, and he told me that a 'brown skin' can't marry a 'white skin,'" she says. "I guess because that was his understanding of the world, because he'd never seen an interracial couple. So to him, it wasn't allowed. He even put his arm up next to mine to show me."

On this week's show, Danni and Dan dive into what it's like to interrogate your own personal and intimate relationships through the lens of what poet Claudine Rankine calls your "historical self."

Oh, and they also talk about poetry and knitting... eventually. Danni's book, "Two Brown Dots," comes out in 2022, and she reads a poem from it on this episode. You can find more of her writing on her website.

Listen to the episode:


Learn more about the show and subscribe for free at  whereyallreallyfrom.org.

"Where Y'all Really From" is part of the Louisville Public Media Podcast Incubator. We get support from the Community Foundation of Louisville, Podchaser, Rankings.io and the Eye Care Institute's Butchertown Clinical Trials.

Laura is LPM's Director of Podcasts & Special Projects. Email Laura at lellis@lpm.org.

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