Sharon H. Chang does a deep dive of her new memoir “Hapa Tales and Other Lies” with fellow Seattle writer Anne Liu Kellor

Posted in Articles, Asian Diaspora, Autobiography, Interviews, Media Archive, United States on 2018-10-12 14:16Z by Steven

Sharon H. Chang does a deep dive of her new memoir “Hapa Tales and Other Lies” with fellow Seattle writer Anne Liu Kellor

International Examiner
Seattle, Washington
2018-10-08

Anne Liu Kellor

Sharon H. Chang recently released a memoir called Hapa Tales and Other Lies: A Mixed Race Memoir about the Hawai’i I Never Knew. The book is an exploration of her Mixed Race Asian American identity through the lens of being a tourist in Hawai’i, a place with many Mixed Race Asians where Chang was indirectly told she could find a sense of racial belonging.

Different from the trips she took with her parents when she was a kid, Chang’s adult exploration of spaces like Pearl Harbor and the Polynesian Cultural Center tell her a more complicated history of Hawai’i and the indigenous culture – colonization, marginalization of Native Hawaiians, exploitation and appropriation. She spends significant time challenging the use of the term “hapa,” a word that originally referred to mixed Hawaiian natives, but that many Mixed Race Asians now use without any awareness of the word’s origins.

Seattle-based writer Anne Liu Kellor interviewed Chang about this exploration as they shared similar perspectives of being Mixed Race, Asian American women and mothers.

International Examiner: In Hapa Tales and Other Lies, you write that this book is a “chapter of your identity story” and “part of a larger, necessary story about the loneliness and challenge of self-defining that Mixed Race people generally face.” When did you start becoming more reflective about your Mixed Race identity, and how has this process of “self-defining” changed for you over time?

SHC: I started becoming more reflective about being Mixed Race when I met my husband (who is also Mixed) at the turn of the century. My husband had been recently politicized and the 2000 Census had just taken place where people could self-select more than one race box for the first time. When we met, he was in the process of reflecting deeply on where to step into the race conversation as a now recognized biracial person. I had never heard anyone talk about being Mixed Race like that, ever, and I was completely drawn in.

When my husband and I grew up no one talked about being biracial, multiracial, or mixed-race. That language didn’t really exist on a large scale. People like us were “half” this, “quarter” that, or you were expected to just “pick a side.” I began to see such concepts as harmfully self-divisive and wondered how things could be different. But what spurred me to go even deeper and actually begin writing on Mixed Race was the birth of my son in 2009…

Read the entire interview here.

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The stories of the ‘War Brides’ of Japan need to be told

Posted in Articles, Asian Diaspora, History, Media Archive, United States, Women on 2016-07-22 15:32Z by Steven

The stories of the ‘War Brides’ of Japan need to be told

International Examiner
Seattle, Washington
2016-07-21

Yayoi Lena Winfrey

One day in the early 1980s, my Japanese mother took my sister and me to an International District gift shop. A middle-aged Japanese American man working there glanced briefly towards us, before turning away apathetically. His body language seemed to indicate a reluctance to wait on us. I looked at my mother and, without the necessity of my uttering a single word, she said, “He not like me.”

Then, pointing at us, her two half-black daughters, she declared in her broken English, “He see I have you two. He know I am war bride.”

Even though I’d heard her use that phrase before, I knew it was not something she was proud to be called. As I stood there reflecting, I realized my mother meant that the Japanese American man didn’t like the fact that she had obviously married someone outside of her race, likely an American G.I. But the irony was he wasn’t living in Japan. Might not the Japanese in that country have considered him as much a traitor for living in America as he thought my mother was for marrying a non-Japanese? Or maybe it wasn’t the same if you left your home country, but married someone of the same ethnicity. I’ve often wrestled with those thoughts in the decades following that 1980s incident.

In the case of Japanese “war brides” like my mother, women who wedded American military men, they were guilty of both marrying an outsider and leaving their country. Considered disloyal by some Japanese nationals for wedding their former enemies, they were also considered disloyal by some Japanese Americans for marrying Americans that were not Japanese. It’s a complicated issue that my documentary War Brides of Japan will address. I also want to eradicate the stigma attached to the term “war bride,” often fallaciously interchangeable with “prostitute.”…

Read the entire article here.

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In the Mix: Issue of Mixed Race Stirs Controversy for Census [Interview with Ralina L. Joseph]

Posted in Articles, Census/Demographics, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, Social Science, United States, Women on 2010-02-01 15:17Z by Steven

In the Mix: Issue of Mixed Race Stirs Controversy for Census [Interview with Ralina L. Joseph]

International Examiner
Volume 32, Number 2
2010-01-21

Yayoi Lena Winfrey

A highly anticipated event for mixed-race people takes place this year. Although it may seem officious and routine for most, the upcoming U.S. Census is actually an exciting undertaking for those considering themselves multiethnic. That’s because for only the second time in history, there will be an opportunity to select more than one race on Census forms. Those who don’t claim a multiracial identity may not get why that’s so important. But for anyone who’s ever been forced to pick only one parent’s ethnic heritage as her own, it’s a major feat.

Ralina L. Joseph’s interest in multiethnic identity began with her undergraduate studies at Brown University. She is currently an Assistant Professor in the Department of Communications and Adjunct Assistant Professor in the Departments of American Ethnic Studies and Women Studies at the University of Washington. Discovering that her own personal mixed race experience was what others were discussing as a collective experience, she began exploring the subject.

“I think that the first generation of scholarship, of literary and cultural production of activism on mixed race and trying to articulate a mixed race identity, is very much about a coming out moment; the naming and claiming of being mixed,” says Joseph.

But by the time she was ready to graduate, Joseph was “suspicious” of the way multiracial activism was pushing multiracial categories in the Census, and longed to produce work that looked at the multiracial experience in regard to other groups of color…

Further, what constitutes a mixed race heritage is debatable. Recently, a group called Multi Generation Multiracials (MGM’s) challenged First Generation Multiracials (FGM’s). Although both groups have mixed ancestry, FGM’s have one white and one black parent while MGM’s may have two parents, or even grandparents, that are mixed. MGM’s, who aren’t able to ‘officially’ claim a biracial heritage, argue that they are often more mixed looking than FGM’s who, because of their parents’ visibility, can automatically declare a dual ethnicity….

Read the entire article here.

Also, see Dr. Joseph’s lecture series, Mixed Race in the United States running through 2010-03-03.

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