Identity angst is a luxury of the privileged. And I was privileged. And I was/am angst.

Posted in Excerpts/Quotes on 2019-10-27 16:28Z by Steven

Identity angst is a luxury of the privileged. And I was privileged. And I was/am angst. The fact that I have time space and a vocabulary to tease out my own relationship to race and represent Asian, and to lobby for more gender equity or fight for diversity in Western media and culture, means that I am already living my mother’s American dream. It wouldn’t look like that to her. Nope. She used to sigh and roll her eyes when I did shows like “Birth of a nASIAN” at the Smithsonian about Asian American identities. She was furious when I got into Juilliard because it meant I was not going to morph into a blonde doctor by sheer force of her will. And she would still be mad today that I am not pursuing her dream of passing as one of the Real Housewives of Assimilation Hills.

Kate Rigg, “My Asian Mom bought me a Blonde Wig.Medium, October 25, 2019. https://medium.com/@katerigg/my-asian-mom-bought-me-a-blonde-wig-6158df9c7a3a.

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My Asian Mom bought me a Blonde Wig.

Posted in Articles, Asian Diaspora, Autobiography, Family/Parenting, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, United States on 2019-10-26 23:07Z by Steven

My Asian Mom bought me a Blonde Wig.

Medium
2019-10-25

Kate Rigg


Yeah I wore it ONE TIME. To Wigstock at the end of high school. Doesn’t count.

And Other Adventures in Internalized Racism

“It will make you feel like success! You can be anyone you want in America. So why not have blonde hair and blue eyes?”

My mom’s big idea was that I should go to my first day of high school wearing a blonde wig and blue eye contacts.

“Why not? It will be a change! Fantastic! I will buy them for you! we can get matching it will be fun!”

So many exclamation points! So much fun! Gesturing at me with a People magazine with Pam Anderson on the cover! I was fourteen; and even then I knew that this situation was no fun. Not for me. And deep down, I bet, not for her.

I tried to verbally tap dance out of it. “I don’t have time for all that. I have to get school supplies and clean my room. Ok see you later byeeee.” Tried to lie my way out of it. “Oh yeah, sure I would totally do that, but I want to pay for it myself so it really feels like me.” Tried out reverse psychology out of it “People should like me for who I really am. Isn’t that what you taught me?”

The one thing I didn’t do was flat out say “No.”…

Read the entire article here.

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Kamala Harris, Birtherism, Race and the Unscrupulous, Sinister Antics of the Far Right!

Posted in Articles, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, United States on 2019-07-05 00:44Z by Steven

Kamala Harris, Birtherism, Race and the Unscrupulous, Sinister Antics of the Far Right!

Medium
2019-07-04

Elwood Watson, Professor of History, African American Studies and Gender Studies
East Tennessee State University

Elwood Watson

Now that she has emerged as a serious contender for the 2020 democratic nomination for president, Kamala Harris has come under attack from a number of conservative political outlets. Various segments of the right wing echo chamber immediately began working overtime in an effort to discredit the former California attorney general, now U.S. Senator.

Partisan knives have been purchased, sharpened and some have been employed by their unethical owners in an unabashed effort to attempt to stab and discredit the senator’s claim of American roots. Fortunately, for Harris, her formidable mental agility coupled with her acute political acumen has been a tremendous weapon to protect herself and stave off a vicious onslaught of treacherous and wicked attacks.

The most recent genesis of such a sinister ploy originated by a Black conservative internet blogger, Ali Alexander whose online identity was previously known as Ali Akbar and Ali Abdul Razaq Akbar. Alexander is a Black right wing, MAGA-world internet personality who crafted and engineered a website for similar, conspiratorial, like-minded fringe elements of the extreme right who were unable or in some cases, unwilling to either embrace or find a stable home in more mainstream conservative media circles…

Read the entire article here.

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Occupying the peculiar liminal space between the fiction of race and the realities of its imposition has presented me a strange reality as a multiracial Black adult of the African diaspora: Black to some, mixed race to others, generally confusing to many…

Posted in Excerpts/Quotes on 2019-04-20 01:12Z by Steven

Occupying the peculiar liminal space between the fiction of race and the realities of its imposition has presented me a strange reality as a multiracial Black adult of the African diaspora: Black to some, mixed race to others, generally confusing to many; white women touching my hair without permission; South Asian old ladies looking at me with suspicion; sideways looks from cops who presume I’m up to no good. If you’re a Black-coded mixed-race person, the cops don’t care who your parents are. I identify as Black because that’s how the world interacts with me. I am also mixed race. The language of halves and quarters does not serve us. We are whole, complex human beings.

Daniella Barreto, “We Can’t Screw Ourselves Out of Racism,” Medium, March 28, 2019. https://medium.com/shareyournuance/cant-fuck-ourselves-out-of-racism-72d91ecbe87.

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We Can’t Screw Ourselves Out of Racism

Posted in Articles, Canada, Gay & Lesbian, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, Social Justice on 2019-04-19 21:27Z by Steven

We Can’t Screw Ourselves Out of Racism

Medium
2019-03-28

Daniella Barreto, Digital Activism Coordinator
Amnesty International
Toronto, Ontario, Canada


Illustration by Maia Boakye (@/ghostyboi)

Multiracial kids won’t end racism. Stop acting like we can.

In case you’ve been living under a six-ton boulder for the last five years, featuring mixed-race couples is the hot new thing in advertising. It’s edgy! It’s progressive! It’s absolutely adorable! Best of all, it is accessible to anyone who’s willing to test out their new Diversity Strategy™ and choose to see the backlash as free PR: banks, clothing brands, jewellers, mattresses, cereals, you name it. We haven’t stopped at plain old mixed race heteros, lord no. Ever heard of representation? Give me mixed race gays. Add some kids! (Just don’t get into that queer or trans business much because there’s not a lot of expendable cash in that.) Diversity’s the in-thing! The opportunities are endless.

Our obsession with diversity reveals far more about us than we think. And serves as a convenient distraction to avoid doing any real equity work.

Mixed race relationships are not inherently progressive, radical, or even healthy. That includes queer ones. The mainstream gawks at multiracial people and mixed-race relationships, turning us into superheroes or weirdos, statistical outliers divorced from the historical impacts of colonization and anti-Black racism — particularly in a Canada so smitten with itself that it has started to believe its own lies about multiculturalism.

It is a gross misunderstanding and a cruel oversimplification of the magnitude and insidiousness of white supremacy (and basic genetics) to think that if we all just fuck each other more or have mixed babies that we will get along better, turn the same shade of beige, and lo, racism will vanish…

Read the entire article here.

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Allure

Posted in Articles on 2019-01-19 00:34Z by Steven

Allure

Medium
2019-01-07

Fanny Elisabeth Garvey

For A., C., C., J., and S., who see the beauty in me.

II. ALLURE

2018. Ireland.

I wanted so badly to ask her how she does it that I sat there feeling stupidly desperate.

This beautiful woman sitting next to me at the table.

The kind of woman of whom people say: There’s simply something just so alluring about her.

How, I wondered, could she be so cool, so calm, so black, so beautiful, in her halter top evening gown, with her braided hair falling elegantly down around her shoulders and her skin glowing smooth, dark brown and silky as a mink?

She and I were the only black folk in the place.

No one noticed this except me.

Well.

Maybe she did….

Read the entire article here.

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Mixed Race, Half Enough?

Posted in Articles, Asian Diaspora, Autobiography, Media Archive, United States on 2019-01-19 00:08Z by Steven

Mixed Race, Half Enough?

Medium
2019-01-15

Kristen Simmons


Photo by Thomas Hafeneth on Unsplash

Hi.

I’m Kristen. I’m a mixed-race author who writes books with mixed-race characters. Yes, I know my last name is Simmons and doesn’t sound very Japanese. Yes, I know Kristen doesn’t either. Yes, I even know that while many people have called me everything from “tan” to “exotic,” I don’t look “very Japanese.”

But guess what? I am.

All my life, this has been something I’ve encountered. People would ask my father when I was alone with him in public if I was really his daughter because we didn’t look alike. (For the record, he’s Caucasian.) Then, when I first started telling people I was Japanese, the questions turned to, “But not completely Japanese, right?” Because to them, I wasn’t…

Read the entire article here.

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Do We Still Need Constitutional “Equal Protection” in a Growing Multiracial World?

Posted in Articles, Law, Media Archive, Social Justice, United States on 2018-07-09 15:33Z by Steven

Do We Still Need Constitutional “Equal Protection” in a Growing Multiracial World?

Medium
2018-07-09

Tanya Hernández, Archibald R. Murray Professor of Law; Associate Director Center on Race, Law & Justice
Fordham University School of Law

Tanya Hernández is the author of the forthcoming book, Multiracials and Civil Rights: Mixed-Race Stories of Discrimination from New York University Press.

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Reflections on the the 150th Anniversary of the 14th Amendment

July 9th, marks the 150th anniversary of the ratification of the 14th Amendment’s equality principle of the U.S. Constitution. Does the pursuit of racial equality look different 150 years after the ratification of the 14th Amendment’s equality principle in today’s growing multiracial world? In 2010, 9 million people constituting 2.9 percent of the population selected two or more races on the census. The Census Bureau projects that the self-identified multiracial population will triple by 2060. Yet, in my own exhaustive review of discrimination cases in a variety of contexts like the workplace, educational settings, housing rentals, access to public accommodations, jury service, and the criminal justices system, the cases demonstrate that racially-mixed persons continue to experience discrimination today…

Read the entire article here.

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Hidden Figures is a Black, not white, Women’s Story

Posted in Articles, History, Media Archive, United States, Women on 2018-06-30 03:02Z by Steven

Hidden Figures is a Black, not white, Women’s Story

Medium
2017-11-22

Chanda Prescod-Weinstein


NASA Administrator Charles Bolden presents an award to Katherine Johnson, the African American mathematician, physicist, and space scientist, who calculated flight trajectories for John Glenn’s first orbital flight in 1962, at a reception to honor members of the segregated West Area Computers division of Langley Research Center on Thursday, Dec. 1, 2016, at the Virginia Air and Space Center in Hampton, VA. Afterward, the guests attended a premiere of “Hidden Figures” a film which stars Taraji P. Henson as Katherine Johnson, Octavia Spencer as Dorothy Vaughan, and Janelle Monae as Mary Jackson. (image: a brown skinned man in a suit handing a plaque to a brown skinned woman in a wheelchair with a brown skinned woman standing behind the wheelchair.)
NASA/Aubrey Gemignani

It’s important to know the difference between “marginalized” and “hidden”

These remarks were made in my role as respondent to a paper on the (white) women students of (white woman) astronomer Maria Mitchell at the 2017 Society of History of Technology meeting. They were well received by the person whose work I was commentating on.

I will respond by offering a history of my own knowledge of women in astronomy. My interest in the Hidden Figures has been strongly shaped by my own experiences as a Black woman working at the intersection of physics and astrophysics. As an undergraduate at Harvard in the early 2000s, I was aware of the white women who had acted as computers for the Harvard College Observatory — this was history that astronomy undergraduates were privy to and that someone (I don’t remember who) took some effort to ensure that at the least women undergraduates learned about. The idea that their history or role was hidden, for this reason, has always seemed jarring to me. They were not hidden to us even as we recognized that more broadly they were a site of disinterest for many, but it was always made clear to me as an undergraduate that while their opportunities were limited, white women astronomers had been part of early American astronomy and that they had played a significant role in my own sub field, cosmology. (As in, without Harvard Computer Henrietta Leavitt’s discovery of the cepheid variable luminosity relation, Hubble could not have discovered the expansion of the universe. Of course, I didn’t learn until much later that Leavitt was a deaf adult, and it is interesting what parts of her story were left out.)…

Read the entire article here.

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When It Comes To Diversity, The Fashion and Beauty Industry Are The Absolute Worst

Posted in Articles, Communications/Media Studies, Media Archive, United States on 2018-02-11 04:32Z by Steven

When It Comes To Diversity, The Fashion and Beauty Industry Are The Absolute Worst

Medium
2018-02-09

Ezinne Ukoha


These are some of the top fashion magazine covers of 2017

Including the sexy magazines that can’t stand dark-skinned models with puffy hair

As a child — I endured the casual comments from family friends who couldn’t help expressing how much I looked like my mother with the exception of her lighter skin — which I unfortunately didn’t inherit. This practice of exaggerating how my dark-skin didn’t measure up continued with my boarding school mates — who once compared my looks to one of the popular girls — and concluded that even though we looked alike — she was prettier.

We did sort of resemble each other — but she wasn’t prettier. She was just light-skinned. That same rhetoric was responsible for the infatuation and fascination assigned to the biracial students who almost always won beauty competitions and anything else that required the adulation of their prized features.

Interestingly enough — I never pressured myself into sourcing ways to solve the issue of my dark skin — the way other Nigerian women have resolved to do — at the risk of their health. Skin bleaching was a dirty secret when I was growing up — because even though it was glaringly obvious that Mrs. Kalu was indulging in potent solutions that couldn’t quite penetrate her knuckles, elbows or feet — we had to act as if her new complexion wasn’t weird as fuck.

My mother did an excellent job boosting my ego — and as a result there was hardly a time when I stared at the mirror and imagined how much more desirable I would be if the gods had been a little more miserly with the strokes of deep chocolate.

However — when I moved to the States to pursue my college degree — I was greeted with hard truths of what it means to be a “regular Black girl” — during an era when such a disposition was guaranteed to get you nowhere — especially in industries that catered to fashion and entertainment…

Read the entire article here.

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