A Visit to the 2018 Critical Mixed Race Studies Conference

Posted in Articles, Asian Diaspora, Caribbean/Latin America, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, Social Science, United States on 2018-04-12 19:46Z by Steven

A Visit to the 2018 Critical Mixed Race Studies Conference

Pacific Citizen: The National Newspaper of the JACL
Los Angeles, California

Rob Buscher, Contributor

Ken Tanabe, left, and Jeff Chiba Stearns lead the Community Caucus at CMRS. (Photo: Rob Buscher)

Leaders in the multiracial movement gather to ‘Resist, Reclaim, Reimagine’ – a direct call to action amidst the current political climate faced by historically underrepresented communities in the U.S.

Over the past few decades, the Japanese American community has become increasingly inclusive of multiracial and multiethnic individuals. However, for those of us who appear less phenotypically Japanese, it is sometimes difficult explaining our connection to people who are less familiar with interracial marriage and mixed-race children.

Multiracial Japanese Americans are in many ways the direct result of institutionalized racism that stigmatized Japanese-ness in the 20th century. From the Alien Land Laws to the mass incarceration during World War II, the very existence of our Japanese immigrant ancestors was deemed objectionable. Is it any wonder that so many of our parents and grandparents would choose intermarriage with partners from other ethnic and racial communities?

Yet, despite the growing prevalence of mixed-race Japanese Americans, there are many outside our community who do not acknowledge the legitimacy of our existence within the spectrum of Japanese American identity.

This is why it was so empowering to attend an event like the Critical Mixed Race Studies Conference, where nearly every one of the 200-plus participants were mixed race. While each individual has a totally different experience being mixed race (even within the same mixed community) the fact that multiracial folks were a super majority in this space meant that everyone had at least a basic understanding of the shared complexities surrounding our mixed identities.

Hosted at the University of Maryland on March 1-3, the 2018 conference’s theme was “Resist, Reclaim, Reimagine” — titled with a direct call to action amidst the current political climate faced by historically underrepresented communities in the United States

Read the entire article here.

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Hapa-palooza fosters cross-cultural knowledge and celebration

Posted in Articles, Asian Diaspora, Canada, Media Archive on 2017-09-21 19:03Z by Steven

Hapa-palooza fosters cross-cultural knowledge and celebration

Westender: Everything Vancouver
Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

Tessa Vikander

Participants dance during the family day portion of last year’s Hapa Palooza festival, celebrating mixed race backgrounds. — Contributed photo

Mixed-race artists use hybrid experience as creative spring-board

“Halfers” are one of the fastest growing population groups and their experiences are informing a fresh wave of creativity, says Jeff Chiba Stearns, co-founder of the Hapa-palooza festival.

Now in its seventh year, the annual festival celebrating people of mixed backgrounds will hit Vancouver this weekend, providing space for celebration as well as discussion on the nuances of hybrid identity.

“Don’t think of us as a special little subset of the Canadian community or demographic, but we’re actually growing – we’re one of the fastest growing demographics,” Chiba Stearns says.

Carleigh Baker

Read the entire article here.

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In Los Angeles, a Festival of Love and Hapa-ness

Posted in Articles, Asian Diaspora, History, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, United States on 2017-03-11 20:52Z by Steven

In Los Angeles, a Festival of Love and Hapa-ness

The New York Times

Lawrence Downes

Portraits from Hāfu2Hāfu, an ongoing photographic project which investigates what it means to be half Japanese and how this defines identity.
Credit Tetsuro Miyazaki

Los Angeles — The current political moment, with its upwelling of nationalism and xenophobia, has a repellent taste, like a mouthful of citrus pith, all bitter and white.

How bracing, then, to escape in late February to Los Angeles, city of the future, for something called the Hapa Japan Festival, a “celebration of mixed-race and mixed-roots Japanese people and culture.”

Hapa” means “half” in Hawaiian pidgin English, and can be used to denote a variety of mixed-race or ethnic combinations, but in this context it meant half Japanese and half something else. In Hawaii, where I grew up Okinawan-Irish, hapa status is unremarkable, a matter-of-fact part of life, like daily sunshine. In the mainland United States, the word is used more assertively, if not defiantly — as a declaration of an identity that many people overlook or dismiss.

The story of growing up hapa — or “hafu,” in Japan — has been told and retold, often as melodrama or tragedy, in tales of abandoned Amerasian orphans in former war zones, or of more contemporary misfits struggling with confusion and rejection…

But as Duncan Ryuken Williams, a professor of religion and East Asian languages and cultures at the University of Southern California, who organized the festival, explained, it’s more complicated than that, a subject worthy of deep — and optimistic — exploration. The festival coincided with a conference at the University of Southern California on critical mixed-race studies, and the publication of “Hapa Japan,” a two-part volume of essays that Professor Williams edited…

…But even so, as Mitzi Uehara Carter, who teaches at Florida International University and is the daughter of an Okinawan mother and an African-American father, explained, hāfus in Okinawa, like those anywhere, often balk at having their lives stuffed into narrative boxes. They don’t like being saddled with identity crises they don’t necessarily have.

A recent essay in The Times described the creativity and mental flexibility of biracial people; critics took issue with it, arguing that race-blending is not the antidote to white supremacy, that hapas won’t save the world…

Read the entire article here.

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Mixed Match documentary explores difficult search for multi-ethnic donors

Posted in Articles, Asian Diaspora, Canada, Health/Medicine/Genetics, Media Archive on 2016-10-02 00:23Z by Steven

Mixed Match documentary explores difficult search for multi-ethnic donors

CBC Radio-Canada

Emotional documentary about mixed-race patients seeking bone marrow, stem cell donors, a call to action

It means a lot to film maker Jeff Chiba Stearns to have his new documentary Mixed Match showing at the Vancouver International Film Festival, a multi-cultural city he calls home.

Stearns ancestry includes people from a variety of European countries as well as Japan and while that ethnic diversity makes for a rich history, there is a medical downside — people of mixed ancestry have a much more difficult time finding matches if they need bone marrow or stem cells…

Read the entire article here.

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Vancouver’s Hapa Festival, All Grown Up

Posted in Articles, Asian Diaspora, Canada, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive on 2015-09-11 14:57Z by Steven

Vancouver’s Hapa Festival, All Grown Up

The Tyee
Vancouver, British Columbia Canada

Christopher Cheung

From one generation to another, an identity conversation continues.

Jeff Chiba Stearns is about to be a father in November, and there’s an important conversation he wants to have with his daughter that he never had with his own family growing up.

It’s not about anything like table manners or the birds and the bees: it’s a conversation on race and ethnicity.

Stearns grew up in Kelowna in the 1980s, where most people were white. His mother was Japanese and his father had British, Scottish, Russian and German roots (one grandmother makes classic cabbage rolls), but “being mixed meant you were a full minority.”

Like many others with a multiethnic background, Stearns had confusion navigating his identity and faced being called things like “half-breed.”

“Not everyone goes through identity crises in their lives, but everyone has a story,” said Stearns. “Either they’ve rejected the fact they’re part of a minority group, or they’ve embraced that, or they’ve just wanted to be human [and say] I just want to blend in and fit in.”

There are a lot of different names for those with a colourful heritage. Sometimes it’s mixed-race or multiethnic, but it’s really up to the individual…

Read the entire article here.

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Hapa-palooza 2014 celebrates three giants of mixed-heritage

Posted in Articles, Arts, Asian Diaspora, Canada, Media Archive on 2014-09-29 19:28Z by Steven

Hapa-palooza 2014 celebrates three giants of mixed-heritage

Vancouver Observer
Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

Jordan Yerman

An artist, a scientist, and a poet: Hapa-palooza honours Kip Fulbeck, Ann Makosinski, and Fred Wah.

What am I? I’m what’s on your spoon when you pull it out of the melting pot!!” So writes a subject in California-based artist Kip Fulbeck’s photo series “part asian, 100% Hapa“.

“The Hapa Project” just opened at the Nikkei National Museum, which also hosted Hapa-palooza’s inaugural Hip Hapa Hooray awards. The evening honoured three key figures in North America’s mixed-heritage community, who come from different generations and exceed in different disciplines.

Hapa-palooza co-founders Zarah Martz, Anna Ling Kaye, and Jeff Chiba Stearns presented awards to Fulbeck, inventor Ann Makosinski and poet Fred Wah

Read the entire article here.

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Critical Mixed Race Studies Conference 2012 and Mixed Roots Midwest

Posted in Articles, Media Archive, United States on 2012-11-14 21:02Z by Steven

Critical Mixed Race Studies Conference 2012 and Mixed Roots Midwest


Camilla Fojas, (CMRS 2012 organizer) Associate Professor and Chair
Latin American and Latino Studies
DePaul University

Laura Kina, (Mixed Roots Midwest 2012 co-organizer) Associate Professor Art, Media and Design and Director Asian American Studies
DePaul University

Photo of Mixed Roots Midwest: Filmmakers Panel by Laura Kina.

Presented by DePaul’s Center for Intercultural Programs and co-organized by Fanshen Cox, Chandra Crudup, Khanisha Foster, and Laura Kina, Mixed Roots Midwest featured three evenings of programming that explored what it means to have a mixed identity:

  • Nov 1, 2012 Selected Shorts: Silences by Octavio Warnock-Graham, Crayola Monologues by Nathan Gibbs, Mixed Mexican by Thomas P. Lopez, and Nigel’s Fingerprints by Kim Kuhteubl.
  • Nov 2, 2012 Filmmakers Panel: Fanshen Cox in conversation with Kim Kuhteubl, Jeff Chiba Stearns, Kip Fulbeck.
  • Nov 3, 2012 Live Event – featuring spoken word artists CP Chang, Chris L. Terry and Sage Xaxua Morgan-Hubbard from Chicago’s own 2nd Story along with a preview of Fanshen Cox’s solo-show-in-progress, One Drop of Love and invited Chicago writer Fred Sasaki reading from a manuscript of e-mails called “Letter of Interest.”
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Join Mixed Roots Midwest at CMRS

Posted in Forthcoming Media, Live Events, United States, Videos on 2012-10-10 21:08Z by Steven

Join Mixed Roots Midwest at CMRS

Critical Mixed Race Studies Conference
DePaul University
Chicago, Illinois
2012-11-01 through 2012-11-03

What Mixed Roots Midwest brings selected short films, a panel of filmmakers, and a live show featuring local and national talent whose material explores the Mixed experience to Chicago as part of the 2012 Critical Mixed Race Studies Conference.

  • November 1: 5:45 PM-7:15 PM – Selected Shorts: Silences, Crayola Monologues, Mixed Mexican, and Nigel’s Fingerprint
  • November 2: 5:15 PM-6:45 PM – Filmmakers Panel: Kip Fulbeck, Jeff Chiba Stearns, and Kim Kuhteubl
  • November 3: 5:00 PM-6:30 PM – Mixed Roots Midwest LIVE: Featuring Chicago’s own 2nd Story and many more exciting pieces from artists who meld performance art with an exploration and critical analysis of what it means to be “Mixed.”

All events are free and open to the public and will be located at DePaul’s Student Center 2250 N. Sheffield #120 A/B, Chicago, Illinois 60614.
For more info contact co-coordinator, Mixed Roots Midwest, Laura Kina lkinaaro@depaul.edu or 773-325-4048. View the flyer here.

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Mixed race: Fastest growing demographic in Canada

Posted in Articles, Canada, Health/Medicine/Genetics, Media Archive on 2012-06-25 02:37Z by Steven

Mixed race: Fastest growing demographic in Canada

The Province
Vancouver, British Columbia

Sam Cooper

…And the hardest in the world to find a match for blood cells; one in millions, literally

Brutal. Intensive. Without hope. Those are words that just don’t translate when you hear the voice of 14-year-old Lourdess Sumners, of Duncan.

She’s a happy teen who liberally sprinkles her speech with giggles and words like, “Gee . . . Woo-hoo! . . . No big whup.”

You’d never know she’s spent half her young life facing death, with survival chances many times lower than other children, because of her diverse genetic makeup.

She was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia, an aggressive cancer of the blood and bone marrow, in 2006. She endured eight months of chemotherapy, seemed to beat the fast-growing cancer, but relapsed.

The doctors at Children’s Hospital in Vancouver said her last hope was a life-saving bone marrow transplant.

The medical process is harrowing enough for any child. But with a Filipino and Caucasian background, doctors could not find Lourdess a bone marrow match, after several worldwide searches.

As a child of mixed race—the fastest growing demographic in Canada, and especially B.C.—she is representative of a demographic group that is disadvantaged, in terms of medical blood work…

Read the entire article here.

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Japanese-Canadian Identity Issues: One Big Hapa Family Screening with Jeff Chiba Stearns

Posted in Asian Diaspora, Canada, Forthcoming Media, Identity Development/Psychology, Live Events, Social Science, Videos on 2012-03-18 23:35Z by Steven

Japanese-Canadian Identity Issues: One Big Hapa Family Screening with Jeff Chiba Stearns

University of Toronto, St. George
Hart House
2012-03-21, 18:30-20:30 EDT (Local Time)

According to recent statistics, the rate of mixed marriages among Japanese-Canadians is at 70% with intermarriage at 95%. Why? Jeff Chiba Stearns attempts to address this phenomena and more with his award-winning documentary, One Big Hapa Family. The combination live-action/animated film is a joint presentation between Hart House’s Conscious Activism Doc series and the Toronto Reel Asian Film Festival. Screening and artist talk followed by Q&A with introductory remarks by Aram Collier, Reel Asian Film Festival Programming Director. Wed., March 21 at 6:30 pm in the Music Room at Hart House, 7 Hart House Circle, University of Toronto (St. George Campus). FREE.

Jeff Chiba Stearns is an award-winning Canadian independent filmmaker, writer and illustrator whose work incorporates animation, documentary, and experimental filmmaking. Stearns founded his Kelowna, BC-based company Meditating Bunny Inc. in 2001. He frequently addresses the issues of mixed race identity in his films, and has published articles and spoken around the world on issues of cultural awareness, Hapa and the animation process.

Hart House is a living laboratory of social, artistic, cultural and recreational experiences where all voices, rhythms and traditions converge. As the vibrant home for the education of the mind, body and spirit envisioned by its founders, Hart House encourages and supports activities that provide spaces for awakening the capacity for self-knowledge and self-expression.

For more information, click here.

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