“I’ve been privy to a lot of racism and conversations in rooms where I unintentionally disappeared into whiteness…”

Posted in Excerpts/Quotes on 2017-07-21 19:27Z by Steven

“So for me, I’m not so much writing about race as I am writing about America. And to me, the American story is one of race, money and class. We do live in a racialized world, and I’ve spent my whole life in this space. I find it strange when writers don’t address it. I’m almost always assumed to be white. I’ve been privy to a lot of racism and conversations in rooms where I unintentionally disappeared into whiteness. I think there were periods when it was a struggle. But I’m at a place in my life when I’m very clear on who I am, my own story and who I come from.” —Danzy Senna

Donna Owens, “NBCBLK Summer Book Club: ‘New People’ by Danzy Senna,” NBC News, July 14, 2017. http://www.nbcnews.com/news/nbcblk/blk-summer-book-club-new-people-danzy-senna-n782806.

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NBCBLK Summer Book Club: ‘New People’ by Danzy Senna

Posted in Articles, Interviews, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, United States on 2017-07-19 22:37Z by Steven

NBCBLK Summer Book Club: ‘New People’ by Danzy Senna

NBCBLK
NBC News
2017-07-14

Donna Owens


Danzy Senna (Mara Casey)

NEW PEOPLE
By Danzy Senna
229 pp. Riverhead Books, $26

The literati have always loved Danzy Senna.

In 1998, the biracial Boston native dazzled literary circles with her debut novel, `Caucasia.’ The coming of age tale—which tackled race, class and gender before terms like `intersectionality’ entered the mainstream lexicon—nabbed awards, and was hailed an instant classic.

Senna’s follow-up novel, `Symptomatic,’ (2001) further explored mixed-race characters. Her memoir, `Where Did You Sleep Last Night?: A Personal History,’ (2009) and story collection, `You Are Free,’ (2011) continued probing identity politics.

Now the scribe is back with her anticipated third novel,`New People.’ As with Senna’s previous work, it mines the complex themes of race, sex, and class. The tale unfolds through the adventures of Maria, a hip Brooklynite whose enviable lifestyle unravels behind her obsession with a man she barely knows…

You’re biracial—White mom and African American father — and your writing delves frequently into race. Is it a painful topic for you?

So for me, I’m not so much writing about race as I am writing about America. And to me, the American story is one of race, money and class. We do live in a racialized world, and I’ve spent my whole life in this space. I find it strange when writers don’t address it. I’m almost always assumed to be white. I’ve been privy to a lot of racism and conversations in rooms where I unintentionally disappeared into whiteness. I think there were periods when it was a struggle. But I’m at a place in my life when I’m very clear on who I am, my own story and who I come from…

Read the entire interview and book excerpt here.

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#RedefineAtoZ: Blasian Narratives, a ‘Vulnerable’ Exploration Into Racial, Cultural Identities

Posted in Articles, Arts, Asian Diaspora, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, United States on 2017-05-04 02:22Z by Steven

#RedefineAtoZ: Blasian Narratives, a ‘Vulnerable’ Exploration Into Racial, Cultural Identities

NBC News
2017-05-01


Blasian Narratives is a “multi-media docu-theatre project that takes an intimate look into the lives of Black and Asian individuals to explore the constructs of racial and cultural identities, and to explore difference and marginalization in the United States and beyond.” Paulo Chun / NBC News

NAME: Jivan Atman (creator, director); active cast: Julian Booker, Marlon Booker, Cenisa Gavin, Shiranthi Goonathilaka, Janei Maynard, Chris Sanders

(Past and recent contributors: Jessica Lam, Malcolm Lizzappi, Audrey Williams, Fredrick Cloyd, Paula Reyna Williams, Whitney Francis, Charon Cummings, Sabrina Im)

AGES: Early and late 20’s, a 40-something and 60-something

HOMETOWNS: Phnom Pehn, Cambodia; Anchorage, Alaska; Honolulu, Hawaii; Atlanta, Georgia; Oakland, California; San Francisco, California; San Diego, California; Long Beach, California; London, UK; St. Paul, Minnesota; Westminster, California; Houston, Texas; Aurora, Colorado; Sarasota, Florida

TWITTER: @blasianproject / INSTAGRAM: @blasianproject / FACEBOOK: Blasian Narratives

Read the entire article here.

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A Young Latino Arab American Throws His Hat in Congressional Ring

Posted in Articles, Latino Studies, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, United States on 2017-04-25 02:17Z by Steven

A Young Latino Arab American Throws His Hat in Congressional Ring

NBC News
2017-04-20

Brian Latimer, Assistant Producer


Ammar Campa-Najjar, 28, of Latino and Palestinian descent hopes he can unseat a long-term Republican representative in California’s District 50. Courtsey of Ammar Campa-Najjar

A young, American-born man of Latino and Arab heritage decided to throw his hat in the political ring after working as a community activist and in the Obama administration.

Ammar Campa-Najjar, 28, announced his candidacy Thursday in the hopes of unseating a long-term Republican representative in California’s District 50 in 2018.

Campa-Najjar is the fifth Democrat entering a crowded battlefield that includes Josh Butner, Pierre “Pete” Beauregard, Patrick Malloy and Gloria Chadwick. He hopes his experience as a community organizer during former Pres. Barack Obama’s second presidential campaign will give him an advantage.

Campa-Najjar, whose mother is Mexican American and whose father is Palestinian American, says he spent a lot of time speaking to Hispanic voters in his district to get them to the polls. In 2012, the district voted for Obama, but four years later did not show support for Hillary Clinton

Read the entire article here.

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A multiracial actress, [Katie] Chang has considered changing her last name in an attempt to land more roles. But when her first film, “The Bling Ring” directed by Sofia Coppola, came out in 2013, she decided against it.

Posted in Excerpts/Quotes on 2017-04-24 03:13Z by Steven

A multiracial actress, [Katie] Chang has considered changing her last name in an attempt to land more roles. But when her first film, “The Bling Ring” directed by Sofia Coppola, came out in 2013, she decided against it. While she noted that some casting directors aren’t looking to cast “Katie Chang as a lead actress” in teen-focused romantic comedies, she said her decision not to use a stage name has pushed her to work harder.

Tiffany Hu, “‘The Bling Ring’ Actress Katie Chang Finds Drive In Activism and Identity,” NBC News, April 20, 2017. http://www.nbcnews.com/news/asian-america/bling-ring-actress-katie-chang-finds-drive-activism-identity-n745736.

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‘The Bling Ring’ Actress Katie Chang Finds Drive In Activism and Identity

Posted in Articles, Arts, Asian Diaspora, Campus Life, Media Archive, United States on 2017-04-24 02:45Z by Steven

‘The Bling Ring’ Actress Katie Chang Finds Drive In Activism and Identity

NBC News
2017-04-20

Tiffany Hu


Katie Chang, is currently a senior at Northwestern. Her second movie is scheduled to debut on April 14. Mia Zanzucchi / Courtesy of Katie Chang

Katie Chang isn’t taking her last year of college easy.

The 21-year-old actress is spending her last semester at Northwestern University taking classes on making her own web series and curating film festivals. She’s also writing and producing a number of plays on campus. During her breaks, she auditions and films.

But while she plays one of the eponymous “outcasts,” Chang is quick to say her character isn’t a stereotype.

“I was up for a different role originally,” she told NBC News. “The girl they had playing the role that I ended up playing was white, tall, and blonde — so it was more of which actor fit best with which role.”…

…A multiracial actress, Chang has considered changing her last name in an attempt to land more roles. But when her first film, “The Bling Ring” directed by Sofia Coppola, came out in 2013, she decided against it. While she noted that some casting directors aren’t looking to cast “Katie Chang as a lead actress” in teen-focused romantic comedies, she said her decision not to use a stage name has pushed her to work harder…

Read the entire article here.

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New Book Confronts Colorism in 21st Century America

Posted in Articles, Book/Video Reviews, Family/Parenting, Media Archive, United States on 2016-12-21 19:27Z by Steven

New Book Confronts Colorism in 21st Century America

NBC News
2016-12-21

Lesley-Ann Brown

The Masque of Blackness” (1605) is an early Jacobean era “masque” — a popular form of 16th & 17th century amateur dramatic theatre — and is quite possibly the first instance in English literature where the topic of skin color is not only discussed, but where Blackness is cast in an unfavorable light.

Project Muse writes, “In The Masque of Blackness (1605) and its plot sequel “The Masque of Beauty” (1608), Ben Jonson represents the transformation of African people to Europeans when they travel to England from Africa.” The period in which it was commissioned and produced coincides with England’s expansion of her Atlantic journey into slavery, sugar and empire and so it ought not be underscored the role literature is enlisted to play in terms of the color hierarchy it was meant to entrain. The masque, commissioned by Anne of Denmark, queen consort of King James I, was also one of the first documented cases of “blackface” a practice so novel at the time that many of the English court found it disturbing…

…In “Same Family, Different Colors: Confronting Colorism in America’s Diverse Families,” Lori Tharps, an assistant professor of journalism at Temple University and author of “Hair Story: Untangling the Roots of Black Hair in America” and “Kinky Gazpacho: Life, Love & Spain,” Tharps gives voice to a dynamic that as she notes, “…doesn’t even exist. Not officially. It autocorrects on my computer screen. It does not appear in the dictionary. So, how does one begin to unpack a societal ill that doesn’t have a name?”…

Read the entire article here.

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Memoir Uncovers One Woman’s Painful Search for Racial Identity

Posted in Articles, Asian Diaspora, Autobiography, Media Archive, United States on 2016-09-09 04:47Z by Steven

Memoir Uncovers One Woman’s Painful Search for Racial Identity

NBC News
2016-09-08

Brooke Obie

When award-winning journalist Sil-Lai Abrams finally sat down to write her memoir, she hoped to stick to her 8-month contract. Instead, it took Abrams 3.5 years to dive into the pain of her upbringing and emerge ready to tell her story in full in “Black Lotus: A Woman’s Search for Racial Identity” (Gallery Books/Karen Hunter Publishing, August 2016).

Born to a Chinese immigrant mother and a white American father in Hawaii in 1970, Abrams was raised as a white child. When school children in her Seminole County, Florida hometown would taunt her because of her brown skin and loose curly hair, with “nigger” and “porch monkey,” she took refuge in what her father had taught her: She had such tanned skin because she was born in Hawaii. It didn’t make sense to her, even as a young child, but in a world where Blackness was inferior, she clung to her father’s “Hawaiian” explanation with both hands.

She would be nearly 14 years old before her father would snatch the privilege of whiteness from her fingers. By this time, her mother had abandoned her, her father, and her two fair-skinned, straight haired younger siblings, and Abrams wrestled with self-worth as a result…

Read the entire article here.

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‘War Brides of Japan’ To Take Focus in New Documentary

Posted in Articles, Asian Diaspora, History, Media Archive, United States, Women on 2016-08-22 23:18Z by Steven

‘War Brides of Japan’ To Take Focus in New Documentary

NBC News
2016-08-10

Frances Kai-Hwa Wang

Journalist and filmmaker Yayoi Lena Winfrey is looking for more Japanese “war brides” to interview as she completes the filming for her feature-length documentary film, “War Brides of Japan.” With many of these women in their mid-80s, Winfrey said that time is critical to document their stories. With interviews already scheduled for 11 and their adult children in eight cities and three states this month, Winfrey hopes to find more women and families to interview along the way…

According to Winfrey, approximately 50,000 “war brides” came to the United States from Japan starting in 1947. Many were disowned by their families for marrying those who had bombed Hiroshima and Nagasaki and then occupied Japan, Winfrey said. Others were rejected by their American in-laws for being foreigners. Some were abandoned by the American servicemen who married them while some were also ostracized by the Japanese-American community, only just released from the incarceration camps of World War II. Some were falsely stereotyped as prostitutes, while others were blamed for causing World War II, she said…

Read the entire article here.

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Mixed-Race Korean Adoptees Use DNA to Search For Roots

Posted in Articles, Asian Diaspora, Media Archive, United States on 2016-03-03 01:51Z by Steven

Mixed-Race Korean Adoptees Use DNA to Search For Roots

NBC News
2016-03-02

Young Jin Kim

Sarah Savidakis, 55, lived in South Korea until she was nine years old, at which time she was adopted by a Connecticut family.

For Savidakis, who says she has grappled with the effects of early childhood trauma, memories of her life in Korea — including those of her birth mother — vanished around the time she arrived in the United States in 1970.

“I have some flashbacks here and there,” Savidakis, who lives in Tarpon Springs, Florida, told NBC News. “But to this day, my mother is [like] a ghost or a silhouette.”

Savidakis is among the thousands of mixed-race children born in the aftermath of the Korean War to American or U.N. soldier fathers and Korean mothers — many of whom were adopted into American families.

Seeking information about her birth parents, Savidakis in September tested her DNA through a commercial genealogy service and identified a first cousin, once removed. The relative helped her identify and connect with a half-brother and half-sister. She learned that her father — who was of Scottish and Irish descent — had passed away in 2014…

Read the entire here.

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