Mandarin Brazil: Race, Representation, and Memory

Posted in Asian Diaspora, Books, Brazil, Caribbean/Latin America, History, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, Monographs on 2018-09-20 03:55Z by Steven

Mandarin Brazil: Race, Representation, and Memory

Stanford University Press
September 2018
256 pages
Cloth ISBN: 9781503605046
Paper ISBN: 9781503606012

Ana Paulina Lee, Assistant Professor of Luso-Brazilian Studies
Columbia University, New York, New York

In Mandarin Brazil, Ana Paulina Lee explores the centrality of Chinese exclusion to the Brazilian nation-building project, tracing the role of cultural representation in producing racialized national categories. Lee considers depictions of Chineseness in Brazilian popular music, literature, and visual culture, as well as archival documents and Brazilian and Qing dynasty diplomatic correspondence about opening trade and immigration routes between Brazil and China. In so doing, she reveals how Asian racialization helped to shape Brazil’s image as a racial democracy.

Mandarin Brazil begins during the second half of the nineteenth century, during the transitional period when enslaved labor became unfree labor—an era when black slavery shifted to “yellow labor” and racial anxieties surged. Lee asks how colonial paradigms of racial labor became a part of Brazil’s nation-building project, which prioritized “whitening,” a fundamentally white supremacist ideology that intertwined the colonial racial caste system with new immigration labor schemes. By considering why Chinese laborers were excluded from Brazilian nation-building efforts while Japanese migrants were welcomed, Lee interrogates how Chinese and Japanese imperial ambitions and Asian ethnic supremacy reinforced Brazil’s whitening project. Mandarin Brazil contributes to a new conversation in Latin American and Asian American cultural studies, one that considers Asian diasporic histories and racial formation across the Americas.

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Hapa Tales and Other Lies: A Mixed Race Memoir About the Hawai‘i I Never Knew

Posted in Asian Diaspora, Autobiography, Books, Media Archive, Monographs, Oceania, Social Justice, United States on 2018-09-19 17:27Z by Steven

Hapa Tales and Other Lies: A Mixed Race Memoir About the Hawai‘i I Never Knew

Rising Song Press
210 pages
Paperback ISBN: 978-1-732484702

Sharon H. Chang


In her first work of literary nonfiction, Sharon H. Chang reflects critically on her Asian American, Mixed Race, and activist identity through the prism of returning to Hawai‘i as a tourist. While visiting O‘ahu and Kaua‘i she considers childhood trips to Maua‘i and the Big Island, pop culture and Hollywood movies of her youth that perpetuated Hawaiian stereotypes, and what it means that she has been stereotyped as a “Hawai‘i Girl” her whole life though she has never lived on the islands. But what begins as a journey to unpack the ways she has been perceived and treated as a multiracial woman evolves into much more as Sharon learns the real impacts of colonization and corporate tourism on Hawai‘i and uncovers what her Asian multiracial “mainland” identity actually looks like in relationship to the land, its Indigenous peoples, and the Native Hawaiian Sovereignty Movement.

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Alien Citizen: An Earth Odyssey, the Movie

Posted in Africa, Asian Diaspora, Caribbean/Latin America, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, United States, Videos on 2018-08-28 02:19Z by Steven

Alien Citizen: An Earth Odyssey, the Movie

HapaLis Productions

Written by: Elizabeth Liang
Directed by: Sofie Calderon

Winner: 2018 Calcutta International Cult Film Festival

Elizabeth Liang in ALIEN CITIZEN: An Earth Odyssey (2017)

Who are you when you’re from everywhere and nowhere?

ALIEN CITIZEN: An Earth Odyssey is a funny and poignant one-woman show about growing up as a dual citizen of mixed heritage in Central America, North Africa, the Middle East, and New England. Elizabeth Liang is a Global Nomad or Third Culture Kid (TCK). Third Culture Kids are the children of educators, international business people, diplomats, missionaries, the military–anyone whose family has relocated overseas, usually because of a job placement.

Liang weaves humorous stories about growing up as an Alien Citizen abroad with American commercial jingles providing her soundtrack through language confusion, first love, “racial ambiguity,” culture shock, Clark Gable, bullying, and sandstorms. Our protagonist deals with the decisions every global nomad has to make repeatedly: to adapt or to simply cope; to build a bridge or to just tolerate. From being a Guatemalan-American teen in North Africa to attending a women’s college in the USA, Alien Citizen reflects her experience that neither one was necessarily easier than the other. Where is the line between respecting others and betraying yourself? Humor is a great survival mechanism – and friends make all the difference.

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Hawaiian Family Drama From Viola Davis, Lisa Takeuchi Cullen Set at ABC (Exclusive)

Posted in Articles, Arts, Asian Diaspora, Media Archive, Oceania, United States, Women on 2018-08-28 02:00Z by Steven

Hawaiian Family Drama From Viola Davis, Lisa Takeuchi Cullen Set at ABC (Exclusive)

The Hollywood Reporter

Rebecca Sun

Former Time journalist Lisa Takeuchi Cullen will write ''Ohana,' based on Kiana Davenport's 1994 novel 'Shark Dialogues.'
Lisa Takeuchi Cullen (Matt Dine; Courtesy of Plume)

ABC is headed back to Hawaii.

The network is teaming with Viola Davis and Julius Tennon’s JuVee Productions to develop the hourlong drama ‘Ohana. The potential series is based on Kiana Davenport’s 1994 novel Shark Dialogues and follows four hapa women who reunite when their grandmother, a mystic known as a kahuna, dies mysteriously and leaves them the family plantation.

Former Time staff writer and foreign correspondent Lisa Takeuchi Cullen will pen the adaptation.

“So many Hawaii-set stories have been told from the white point of view,” Cullen tells The Hollywood Reporter. “This is a story we’re passionate about telling from the point of view of native Hawaiians — Pacific Islanders, people of Asian descent and people of hapa heritage.”

Each of the four protagonists is of a different mixed ethnicity — half-white, half-Japanese, half-Filipino and half-black — and their unexpected shared inheritance will force them to overcome years of jealousies, misunderstandings, resentments and secrets…

Read the entire article here.

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“A Part, and Apart”: Passing and Belonging as a Multiracial Person

Posted in Articles, Asian Diaspora, Autobiography, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, Passing, United States on 2018-08-24 21:14Z by Steven

“A Part, and Apart”: Passing and Belonging as a Multiracial Person

Psychology Today

Tiffany McLain, LMFT
San Francisco, California

Here’s how to navigate passing and belonging as a multiracial person.

Tiffany note: For the past few months, I have been writing about the experience of white mothers of biracial children. For the next set of articles in this series, I will be sharing the stories of white fathers of biracial children. The following article is a brief interlude that invites us to consider the experience of the biracial person who has been raised by a white mother, despite being multiethnic.

The following article is written by Bay Area psychotherapist, Deva Segal, MFT. In it, she describes the experience of being a light-skinned biracial person in a society that desires a clear binary when it comes to racial identifications…

…Over the course of my life, I have identified myself in many ways: half Indian-half White; just White; Other; South Asian; Desi; multiethnic; biracial; multiracial; light-skinned Indian; light-brown-but-probably-needs-to-go-back-in-the-toaster-a-little-bit-longer. In recent years, I have identified a “publicly white person and privately a person of color” in efforts to acknowledge my privilege. Still, that doesn’t always fit. Half my story is gone. Owning my own experience as a woman of color without apology while still kinda passing for white is a delightful grab bag of identity crises…

Read the entire article here.

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Being Proud of my Blasian Identity Didn’t Come Without Some Pain

Posted in Articles, Asian Diaspora, Autobiography, Media Archive, United States on 2018-08-24 20:34Z by Steven

Being Proud of my Blasian Identity Didn’t Come Without Some Pain

Wear Your Voice

Latonya Pennington, Pop Culture Writer

Despite the ongoing trauma I’ve experienced and the toxic things I’ve had to unlearn, I wouldn’t trade being Blasian for anything.

Until recently, I thought that being a biracial Black and Asian person was no big deal. I look Black and was always closer to my African American dad than my Vietnamese mom, so I thought that nullified my biracial heritage somehow. However, certain experiences, new stories, and media have reminded me that no matter how Black I appear to be, I will always be Blasian.

The very first time I became aware of how my ethnicity affected me was when I was asked what my race was on a form when I was in elementary school. Ten to twenty years ago, official documents didn’t give you the option to say that you were multiracial or choose more than one race. I remember being a little confused because I knew my skin was Black, but both my parents weren’t. In the end, I chose “Black” and sometimes I still just choose “Black” when I think my ethnicity is too complicated for others to understand…

Read the entire article here.


If you ask me what I am

Posted in Articles, Asian Diaspora, Autobiography, Media Archive, United States on 2018-08-11 18:05Z by Steven

If you ask me what I am

The Daily Californian
Berkeley, California

Jasmine Tatah, Senior Staff


Mixed Feelings

I used to welcome personal questions about race and identity. Where is my family from? What’s my ethnic background? Where does my last name come from? However ambiguously or indirectly they were phrased, they all came across as equally amusing. If someone was curious about my heritage, that was fine with me. I considered the attention to be flattering.

There was one day in my senior year of high school when my biology teacher wanted to illustrate the scope of human genetic variation. She pulled up a National Geographic article on mixed-race Americans, scrolled through the various faces pictured and remarked, “Aren’t they beautiful?” The idea that mixed people were considered beautiful wasn’t new to me, but in that moment, her remark made me want to vomit. Was that all she had to say?

Moments like that made me question what others really thought about me. Could I ever be uncoupled from my racial identity? Could my internal connection to my roots ever be uncoupled from my external appearance? Was my race always the first thing people wondered about me and the primary way people identified me?…

Read the entire article here.

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Albums of Inclusion: The Photographic Poetics of Caribbean Chinese Visual Kinship

Posted in Asian Diaspora, Caribbean/Latin America, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive on 2018-08-10 00:06Z by Steven

Albums of Inclusion: The Photographic Poetics of Caribbean Chinese Visual Kinship

Small Axe: A Caribbean Journal of Criticism
Volume 22, Number 2 (56)
pages 35-56
DOI: 10.1215/07990537-6985666

Tao Leigh Goffe, Assistant Professor of Africana Studies and Feminist, Gender, & Sexuality Studies
Cornell University, Ithaca, New York

Issue Cover

This essay focuses on artwork that centers family photographs and home movies as a point of departure to trouble the conventional family album in order to narrate a story about Caribbean Chinese kinship. In the art examined, personal visual archives are used to respond to the lacuna of Caribbean Chinese familial intimacies from the colonial archive. Engaging shared themes of migration and racialized ideas of reproduction, three contemporary diasporic visual artists—Albert Chong, Richard Fung, and Tomie Arai—mine oral histories and family archives to blend aural and visual narratives. These artists rupture the surface of family images to trouble the bourgeois, heteronormative, and colorist scripts that often police the formation of family. The family album is rearranged and marked up; thus it becomes rendered as flesh inscribed with silent narratives. Through different forms of remixing, they engage with the affect and entanglements of family photography to form a visual vocabulary of diasporic kinship. In doing so, the artwork—collages, documentaries, installations—interrogates the afterlife of the nineteenth-century European colonial experiment of Chinese indenture, designed to install a discreet “buffer race” between the white minority and the black majority in the Caribbean after abolition. The experiment, which depended on the capacity for the Chinese to develop bourgeois domesticity in the Caribbean after abolition, failed because of sexual intimacies between people of African descent and people of Asian descent, beyond the imperial order’s imagining. Another future of familial intimacies in the diaspora is present in the artists’ aesthetic of fragmentation and collage.

Read or purchase the article here.

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Legacies of Postwar Japan’s “War Bride” Era

Posted in Asian Diaspora, History, Live Events, Media Archive, United States, Women on 2018-06-30 03:04Z by Steven

Legacies of Postwar Japan’s “War Bride” Era

Japanese American National Museum
100 North Central Avenue
Los Angeles, California 90012
Telephone: (213) 625-0414
2018-06-30, 09:00-17:30 PDT (Local Time)

Presented in partnership with the Hapa Japan Project at USC Shinso Ito Center for Japanese Religions and Culture.

During and shortly after the US-Allied Occupation of Japan, the Japanese women who fraternized with soldiers often met opposition from their families and were shunned by other Japanese. Many mixed-raced children faced severe prejudice for being “impure” and born from the former enemy.

This symposium brings together various stakeholders to tell the stories of the war brides and their children. By focusing on the memories, realities, and legacies of this community, this groundbreaking gathering will create opportunities for listening, discussing, healing, and empowering attendees.

Symposium Schedule

9:00am – 9:30am Welcome and Opening Remarks

  • Duncan Williams (USC Shinso Ito Center and Hapa Japan Project)
  • Fredrick Cloyd (author of Dream of the Water Children)

9:30am – 10:40am Session 1 – Occupation/Migration: Women, Children and the U.S. Military Presence

  • Etsuko Crissey (author of Okinawa’s GI Brides: Their Lives in America)
  • Mire Koikari (University of Hawai‘i; author of Cold War Encounters in US-Occupied Okinawa: Women, Militarized Domesticity, and Transnationalism in East Asia)
  • Elena Tajima Creef (Wellesley College; author of Imaging Japanese America: The Visual Construction of Citizenship, Nation, and the Body and Following Her Own Road: The Life and Art of Mine Okubo)

10:40am – 11:50am Session 2 – Difference and Other: War-Bride and Mixed-race Children’s Representations

  • Margo Okazawa-Rey (Fielding Graduate University; Professor Emeritus, San Francisco State University)
  • Sonia Gomez (University of Chicago; Visiting Scholar, MIT; author of From Picture Brides to War Brides: Race, Gender, and Belonging in the Making of Japanese America)

11:50am – 1:15pm LUNCH BREAK

1:15pm – 2:45pm Session 3 — Book Launch of “Dream of the Water Children: Memory & Mourning in the Black Pacific”

  • Fredrick D. Kakinami Cloyd (author of Dream of the Water Children)
  • Curtiss Takada Rooks (Loyola Marymount University)
  • Angela Tudico (Archives Specialist, National Archives at New York City)

2 :45pm – 3 :00pm COFFEE/TEA BREAK

3 :00pm – 5 :30pm Session 4 – Film and Discussion of “Giving Voice, The Japanese War Brides”

  • Miki Crawford (Producer/author of Giving Voice, The Japanese War Brides)
  • Kathryn Tolbert (Washington Post; Producer/Director of Seven Times Down, Eight Times Up: The Japanese War Brides)

5:30pm Closing Remarks: Fredrick Cloyd

For more information and to RSVP, click here.

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What It’s Like Being an “Other”

Posted in Articles, Asian Diaspora, Autobiography, Campus Life, Media Archive, United States on 2018-06-22 16:40Z by Steven

What It’s Like Being an “Other”

College Magazine

Mailinh McNicholas

Mailinh McNicholas

I’ve remained on the fringes of two different and separate Anchorage, Alaska communities. I have a Caucasian father and Vietnamese mother. My high school friends often talked about my ethnicity and attempted to place me into a defined racial category. Some of my peers pegged me as an Asian immigrant, some have asked if I am Native Alaskan, and others simply asked ‘What are you?’

Unfortunately, my hopes did not match my reality. A few months into my freshman year at GW [George Washington University] I found that my college peers also cast me as “the other.” Although I’m equal parts Asian and White, to my white friends I’m Asian and to my Asian friends, I’m white. My bi-cultural heritage once again left me excluded from being included in ether community…

Read the entire article here.

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