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Topic: Mercedes Eng

Ambivalent Inheritance: my yt mama by Mercedes Eng

Calling something a “myth” or a “legend” is misleadingly aggrandizing; it elevates while also implying that the thing being elevated is something other than the truth. In my yt mama, Mercedes Eng emphasizes mythologization’s long history as a colonial tool, and turns its destabilizing logic onto her own personal origin story as the “non-yt” daughter of a “yt mama” born in Medicine Hat. She ravenously forages knowledge from family hearsay, childhood memories, Wikipedia, a colonial history of Medicine Hat written for Canada’s centennial, and observations of family members, friends, celebrities, and craft-brewery bros. The strongest sense of authority among all these knowledges comes from the unspoken memories of childhood: in poems such as “race according to my yt mama,” an adult Eng restores the child’s narrative by drawing attention to what her mother was not seeing in their offhand exchanges about race.