Alternate lives: Korean orphans’ quests for answers

Posted in Articles, Asian Diaspora, Biography, Family/Parenting, Media Archive on 2019-08-25 19:50Z by Steven

Alternate lives: Korean orphans’ quests for answersAlternate lives: Korean orphans’ quests for answers

France 24

Seoul (AFP)

On a summer’s day in 1985 a seven-year-old boy sat alone at a crowded bus station in Seoul, sobbing as he waited desperately for his mother to return.

Jo Youn-hwan was wearing a baseball uniform that his mother had bought him a few days before — the only gift she had ever given him.

She told him to wait for her before leaving him at the terminal. So he did, increasingly terrified as day turned to dusk.

“I’ll be a really good kid if only she chooses to return,” he promised himself, over and over again. “I’ll be a really, really good kid.”

She never did…

…International adoption from South Korea began after the Korean War as a way to remove mixed-race children, born to local mothers and American GI fathers, from a country that emphasized ethnic homogeneity.

More recently the main driver has been babies born to unmarried women, who still face ostracism in a patriarchal society, and according to historians, are often forced to give up their children.

Most children remain institutionalised till adulthood as many South Koreans are reluctant to adopt. The country has sent some 180,000 children overseas over the years, mostly to the US

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Ukraine mixed-race wrestler tackles prejudice in run for parliament

Posted in Articles, Europe, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy on 2019-07-17 14:55Z by Steven

Ukraine mixed-race wrestler tackles prejudice in run for parliament

France 24

Boyarka (Ukraine) (AFP)

Zhan Beleniuk, an Olympic wrestler with Rwandan roots, is running to become the first mixed-race member of Ukraine's parliament
Zhan Beleniuk, an Olympic wrestler with Rwandan roots, is running to become the first mixed-race member of Ukraine’s parliament AFP

Zhan Beleniuk, an Olympic wrestler with Rwandan roots, is seeking to enter Ukraine’s parliament as the first mixed-race MP in a bid to overcome racist attitudes and support the country’s young new leader.

The Greco-Roman style wrestler, who won silver for Ukraine at the Rio Olympics, is standing for the party of the new Ukrainian president, comedian and actor Volodymyr Zelensky, in Sunday’s polls.

The 28-year-old is the son of a Ukrainian dressmaker and a Rwandan pilot killed in that country’s civil war in the 1990s. He grew up in a one-room flat in the capital Kiev.

“Volodymyr Zelensky invited me to join his party, we knew each other before,” Beleniuk told AFP in an interview as he campaigned in the small town of Boyarka just outside Kiev.

“It seems like he saw qualities in me that will help promote the development of Ukrainian sport,” said the athlete after holding a training session for children.

Describing himself as “100 percent Ukrainian”, Beleniuk said his election would prove “we’re really a country that’s modern and that treats all races, all ethnic groups the same.”…

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Black Miss Japan fights for race revolution’

Posted in Articles, Arts, Asian Diaspora, Media Archive on 2015-05-15 15:31Z by Steven

Black Miss Japan fights for race revolution’

Agence France Presse (via Yahoo)

Alastair Himmer, Sport and Lifestyle Correspondent

Ariana Miyamoto

Tokyo (AFP) – Ariana Miyamoto entered the Miss Universe Japan beauty contest after a mixed-race friend committed suicide. And she endured abuse after winning the crown because of her skin colour.

Far from being put off by the backlash, Miyamoto resolved to use her new-found fame to help fight racial prejudice — in much the same way British supermodel Naomi Campbell broke down cultural barriers in the fashion industry a generation ago.

“I’m stubborn,” said Miyamoto, the daughter of a Japanese mother and black American father, who turned 21 on Tuesday.

“I was prepared for the criticism. I’d be lying to say it didn’t hurt at all. I’m Japanese — I stand up and bow when I answer the phone. But that criticism did give me extra motivation,” she told AFP in an interview.

“I didn’t feel any added pressure because the reason I took part in the pageant was my friend’s death. My goal was to raise awareness of racial discrimination,” added Miyamoto, who was bullied as a schoolgirl growing up in the port town of Sasebo, near Nagasaki.

“Now I have a great platform to deliver that message as the first black Miss Universe Japan. It’s always hard to be the first, so in that respect what Naomi Campbell did was really amazing.”…

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Call at Rio fashion show for more black models

Posted in Articles, Arts, Brazil, Caribbean/Latin America, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, Social Science on 2012-01-15 21:41Z by Steven

Call at Rio fashion show for more black models

Agence France-Presse

Only a handful of black models sashayed down the catwalk at this week’s Rio fashion show, sparking fresh calls for quotas to ensure greater diversity in a country where more than half of the population is of African ancestry.

Some 24 labels displayed their latest designs at the Rio de Janeiro winter 2012 fashion week, that ran from Wednesday to Saturday, and as in previous years the models were overwhelmingly white.

Yet Brazil, home to 190 million people, has the world’s second largest black population after Nigeria.

Organizers refused to address this perennial lack of racial diversity, although in the past they claimed that “there is no racial discrimination” in an industry known for its preference for eurocentric standards of beauty.

For the first time in June 2009, the Sao Paulo Fashion Week (SPFW)—Latin America’s premier fashion event—imposed quotas requiring at least 10 percent of the models to be black or indigenous…

…Luana Genot, one of the eight black models out of more 200 employed by the main Rio modeling agency, 40° Models, gave details of the hurdles blacks face.

“They call us only when the the theme of the show is linked to black culture,” said the 23-year-old who is also an advertising student at Rio Catholic University (PUC).

“I am often told: What am I going to do with your hair? And for make-up, I am always the last so as not to dirty the brush with overly dark tones,” she added.

Last June, during Black Consciousness Week, Genot organized a debate on “ethnic diversity in fashion” at PUC.

We are told that the winter collection is for whites in Europe or that black women’s butts are too big, their hips too wide. I am shocked to see that in Brazil, where more than half of the people are descendants of black slaves, there is so little space for us,” she added.

“Brazil’s population is very mixed and this must be reflected in fashion,” Genot said…

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