How I Finally Learned To Accept Both My Chinese And Jewish Identities

Posted in Asian Diaspora, Autobiography, Judaism, Media Archive, Religion, United States on 2018-05-28 23:07Z by Steven

How I Finally Learned To Accept Both My Chinese And Jewish Identities

The Huffington Post
2018-05-22

Gen Slosberg
Guest Writer

To be mixed and a woman meant my appearance was of the foremost importance to everyone around me.
Gen Slosberg
To be mixed and a woman meant my appearance was of the foremost importance to everyone around me.

Growing up in China, I never quite understood why I didn’t fit in.

I ate Chinese food, went to Chinese school, had Chinese friends and did Chinese things. I memorized poems and Confucius passages at school and learned how to play the zither. At night, my grandma would sit next to my bed, fan away mosquitoes with her bamboo fan and sing nursery rhymes about the summer rain in Cantonese. On weekends, I would wake up early to watch my neighbor roll dumpling dough and my mom cut green onions into small pieces for the filling.

What little exposure I had to American culture was when my Jewish-American father would come home after monthslong business trips and read me Dr. Seuss. Until I was 15, my understanding of America consisted of vague memories of The Boy and The Apple Tree, summer trips to my dad’s hometown Portland, Maine, where his white relatives would look at me in wonder and express concern for my broken English.

I was, as far as I understood, Chinese. But as far as everyone else in China was concerned, I was only white, Jewish and American because of my father. For reasons incomprehensible to me at the time, I was “different” in the eyes of those in a society so emphatic about its homogeneity…

Read the entire article here.

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A Way of Sharing

Posted in Articles, Autobiography, Campus Life, Judaism, Media Archive, Passing, Religion, United States on 2017-12-05 22:20Z by Steven

A Way of Sharing

UMKC Today
University of Missouri, Kansas City
2015-06-08


Photo credit: Janet Rogers, Division of Strategic Marketing and Communications

Knowledge, Expertise and Experience

Women from Africa, Asia, Europe, South America and nearby states in North America attended the 2015 Women of Color Leadership Conference.

MC Mia Ramsey strolled across the stage in her black sweater, black skirt, white T and pink sneakers. An energetic lady, Ramsey was ready to inspire and encourage women through song, jokes, personal stories and rousing introductions of presenters.

The 10th annual conference, “Together We Rise: 10 Years of Paving the Way,” at the University of Missouri-Kansas City focused on improving the lives of all women of color. More women of diverse backgrounds attend each year to share their expertise and to learn from facilitators and speakers.

Shortly after keynote speaker Lacey Schwartz took to the podium, she made an emphatic statement: “Tell the truth about things that are hard to tell the truth about.” If that had been the case, her life would have been less complicated, and she would have known far sooner exactly who she was.

In the documentary “Little White Lie,” Schwartz tells her story of growing up in New York with her parents and a strong sense of her Jewish identity, only to discover she was not white, but biracial. She created the documentary to start a conversation about difficult conversations…

Read the entire article here.

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We Wear the Mask: 15 Stories about Passing in America

Posted in Anthologies, Asian Diaspora, Autobiography, Books, Gay & Lesbian, History, Judaism, Latino Studies, Media Archive, Native Americans/First Nation, Passing, Religion on 2017-10-17 01:52Z by Steven

We Wear the Mask: 15 Stories about Passing in America

Beacon Press
2017-10-10
224 Pages
Paperback ISBN: 978-080707898-3
Ebook ISBN 978-080707899-0
Size: 5.5 x 8.5 Inches

Edited by:

Brando Skyhorse, Associate Professor of English
Indiana University, Bloomington

Lisa Page, Acting Director of Creative Writing
George Washington University, Washington, D.C.

Fifteen writers reveal their diverse experiences with passing, including racial, ethnic, sexual orientation, gender, and economic.

American history is filled with innumerable examples of “passing.” Why do people pass? The reasons are manifold: opportunity, access, safety, adventure, agency, fear, trauma, shame. Some pass to advance themselves or their loved ones to what they perceive is a better quality of life.

Edited by authors Brando Skyhorse and Lisa Page, We Wear the Mask is a groundbreaking anthology featuring fifteen essays—fourteen of them original—that examine passing in multifaceted ways. Skyhorse, a Mexican American, writes about how his mother passed him as an American Indian before he gradually learned and accepted who—and what—he really is. Page writes about her mother passing as a white woman without a black ex-husband or biracial children. The anthology also includes essays by Marc Fitten, whose grandfather, a Chinese Jamaican, wanted to hide his name and ethnicity and for his children to pass as “colored” in the Caribbean; Achy Obejas, a queer Jewish Cuban woman who discovers that in Hawaii she is considered white. There’s M. G. Lord, who passes for heterosexual after her lesbian lover is killed; Patrick Rosal, who, without meaning to, “passes” as a waiter at the National Book Awards ceremony; and Sergio Troncoso, a Latino man, who passes for white at an internship on Capitol Hill. These and other compelling essays reveal the complex reality of passing in America.

Other contributors include:

  • Teresa Wiltz, who portrays how she navigated racial ambiguity while growing up in Staten Island, NY
  • Trey Ellis, the author of “The New Black Aesthetic,” who recollects his diverse experiences with passing in school settings
  • Margo Jefferson, whose parents invite her uncle, a light-complexioned black man, to dinner after he stops passing as white
  • Dolen Perkins-Valdez, who explores how the glorification of the Confederacy in the United States is an act of “historical passing”
  • Gabrielle Bellot, who feels the disquieting truths of passing as a woman in the world after coming out as trans
  • Clarence Page, who interrogates the phenomenon of “economic passing” in the context of race
  • Susan Golomb, a Jewish woman who reflects on the dilemma of having an identity that is often invisible
  • Rafia Zakaria, a woman who hides her Muslim American identity as a strategy to avoid surveillance at the airport
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Black Religious Movements and Religio-Racial Identities during the Great Migration

Posted in Audio, History, Interviews, Judaism, Media Archive, Religion, United States on 2017-07-09 21:17Z by Steven

Black Religious Movements and Religio-Racial Identities during the Great Migration

The Religious Studies Program
2017-06-26

In this podcast, Judith Weisenfeld talks to Brad Stoddard about her new book, New World A-Coming: Black Religion and Racial Identity during the Great Depression. In this book, Weisenfeld explores several social groups in the early 1900s who combined religious and racial rhetoric to fashion new identities. These groups include the Nation of Islam, the Moorish Science Temple, and Father Divine’s Peace Mission Movement, and various Ethiopian Hebrews. These groups are not new to scholars of American religious history; however, Weisenfeld’s original analysis combined with her use of previously overlooked sources combine to tell a new and compelling story about these familiar groups.

Listen to the podcast (00:33:25) here. Download the podcast here. Read the transcript here.

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A Conflict of Race and Religion

Posted in Articles, Autobiography, Identity Development/Psychology, Judaism, Media Archive, Religion, United States on 2017-04-17 00:31Z by Steven

A Conflict of Race and Religion

Atlanta Jewish Times
2017-04-13

Patrice Worthy

As a Jew of color, your identity and loyalty are constantly questioned.

I remember it like it was yesterday. I was laid off from my job for poor work performance. Weeks before, I went to HR regarding a co-worker who attacked my Jewish identity by asking another co-worker, “What does she want to be Jewish?” followed by “She thinks she so cute” because I asked for the first day of Pesach off.

Her sister, who worked in the same department, questioned my Judaism in front of the entire office, and when the daily harassment was too much for my body to handle, I was hospitalized and forced to tell my diagnosis to my supervisor, who encouraged the discrimination, and the HR rep…

…Being black and Jewish, at least from my experiences in the South, is a precarious position. Especially in a socially segregated city like Atlanta, where you are forced to choose between being Jewish and being black, whatever that means…

Read the entire article here.

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Jewish and Asian: Intermarriages that yield Jewish kids

Posted in Articles, Asian Diaspora, Family/Parenting, Identity Development/Psychology, Interviews, Judaism, Media Archive, Religion, United States on 2017-04-14 01:57Z by Steven

Jewish and Asian: Intermarriages that yield Jewish kids

Religion News Service
2016-07-08

Lauren Markoe, National Reporter


Helen Kim, Noah Leavitt, and their children Ari and Talia Kim-Leavitt, at home. Photo courtesy Kim-Leavitt family

(RNS) Noah Leavitt and Helen Kiyong Kim’s marriage is one of an increasing number of Jewish-Asian pairings in the U.S., a trend evident in many American synagogues. The two Whitman College professors have just released the first book-length study of Jewish-Asian couples and their offspring.

Though “JewAsian” is geared toward social scientists, the chapters in which they excerpt and analyze their interviews with 34 Jewish-Asian couples will interest any readers curious about intermarriage in general, and the evolving American-Jewish community in particular.

RNS asked Leavitt and Kim why Jews and Asians seem increasingly to fall for each other, why they so often opt for Judaism and how they are raising their own Jewish-Korean children…

Read the entire interview here.

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Lacey Schwartz

Posted in Articles, Interviews, Judaism, Media Archive, Passing, Religion, United States on 2017-04-14 01:40Z by Steven

Lacey Schwartz

Stone Fox Bride
2017-02-17

Lacey Schwartz on Leaning In, Little White Lies And Imperfect Love

Who: Lacey Schwartz, Truth Teller, Filmmaker, Mama Of Two

Why She’s Foxy: After digging up a wild family secret at the age of eighteen, she discovered her roots, directed a PBS documentary and found her strength in storytelling

On Her Childhood: “I grew up an only child in the deep in the country in Accord, New York. You couldn’t see other houses from where I was, and it felt like a bubble. You would have to ask my parents, but I think I was pretty chill as a kid. I was a very rational child who could entertain myself. My favorite books were Beverly Cleary, Judy Blume, The Babysitters Club by Ann M. Martin and Betsy-Tacy and Tib by Maud Hart Lovelace.”…

On Little White Lies: “After law school, I had an offer on the table and started waiting tables in New York. I considered going into the mailroom at an agency. I ended up getting a job at a production company and then in the background started thinking about making Little White Lie, a personal documentary about dual identity and family secrets. My story is I grew up in a white Jewish family in upstate New York. I thought I was white, despite my dark features, until I found out at the age of eighteen that my biological father was black…

Read the entire interview here.

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Where Black and Jewish Identity Merge

Posted in Articles, Autobiography, Judaism, Media Archive, Religion, United States on 2017-03-30 19:36Z by Steven

Where Black and Jewish Identity Merge

Forward
2013-01-27

Adam Langer, Culture Editor


courtesy emily raboteau

Before they had finished their books, before Sharifa Rhodes-Pitts had published “Harlem Is Nowhere” — a finalist for the 2011 National Book Critics Circle Award — and before Emily Raboteau had published “Searching for Zion,” which was published in January, the two women used to take walks together. They would amble past the George Washington Bridge, the Morris-Jumel Mansion, Jumel Terrace Books and other landmarks in the Upper Manhattan neighborhoods where both authors currently live.

Both Raboteau and Rhodes-Pitts are young mothers in their 30s whose nonfiction books share a common theme: a yearning for some sort of promised land. For Rhodes-Pitts, whose book is the first in a planned trilogy about black utopias, that place is Harlem; for Raboteau, it is not just one place, but a series of locations where displaced blacks have endeavored to find a homeland.

Raboteau’s journey began in Israel, where her best friend from childhood had moved to make aliyah, but it also led her through such locations as Jamaica, Ethiopia and Ghana, where she came to challenge some of her long-held assumptions about race and religion. The Forward’s Adam Langer invited the authors to have another conversation, this time at Emily Raboteau’s office at City College where she teaches. The writers discussed parenthood, promised lands, and their thoughts on the relationship between blacks and Jews…

Read the entire interview here.

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Identity Crisis

Posted in Articles, Book/Video Reviews, Judaism, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, Passing, Religion, United States on 2017-03-24 01:07Z by Steven

Identity Crisis

Washington Independent Review of Books
2017-03-10

Helene Meyers, Professor of English
Southwestern University, Georgetown, Texas

The “white Jewish” question posed in The Human Stain.

Emma Green of the Atlantic started a firestorm recently with the article “Are Jews White?” Taking for granted that Ashkenazi Jews have assimilated to whiteness, Green used the white Jewish question to wonder whether the rise of the so-called “alt-right” (read racist, misogynist white supremacists) is upending Jewish security in the U.S.

Green’s provocative title question caused quite a bit of tumult on Twitter. Predictably and understandably, Jews of color replied, with much amusement and some angst, “No.” Some white Jews responded, “No,” as well, citing anti-Semitism and/or Jewish distinctiveness. For once, this group agreed with the likes of David Duke, who tweeted in all caps “NO — JEWS ARE NOT WHITE.” Some white Jews and blacks unequivocally replied, “Yes,” citing white privilege as decisive.

While the answers to Green’s question from Jewish-American literature are all over the map, Philip Roth’s The Human Stain brilliantly depicts the continuing effects of “so arbitrary a designation as race” on those who choose or are assigned the off-whiteness of Jewishness…

Read the entire essay here.

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Biracial and Jewish

Posted in Articles, Asian Diaspora, Identity Development/Psychology, Judaism, Letters, Media Archive, Religion, Social Science, United States on 2017-03-22 14:38Z by Steven

Biracial and Jewish

The New York Times
2017-03-20

Helen Kiyong Kim, Associate Professor of Sociology
Whitman College, Walla Walla, Washington

Noah Samuel Leavitt, Associate Dean of Students
Whitman College, Walla Walla, Washington

To the Editor:

Re “What Biracial People Know” (Sunday Review, March 5):

Moises Velasquez-Manoff makes a number of vital points about the creative ways that biracial people navigate the world.

During 2011-14, we interviewed 39 young men and women who were the offspring of Jewish and Asian parents. Supporting Mr. Velasquez-

Manoff’s point that biracialism breaks down tribalism — and perhaps extending his assertions — our research found that these young people strongly identified both as multiracial as well as Jewish in a surprisingly traditional religious sense…

Read the entire letter here.

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