Thoughts on Identity: Who is Hapa?

Posted in Articles, Asian Diaspora, Autobiography, Campus Life, Identity Development/Psychology, United States on 2018-03-18 21:26Z by Steven

Thoughts on Identity: Who is Hapa?

The Daily Gazette: Swarthmore College’s daily student newspaper. Founded 1997.
Swarthmore, Pennsylvania

Charlotte Iwasaki

The first time that I consciously considered my multicultural background was in fifth grade when a friend jokingly announced to the class that I was both a Jap and a Nazi. At the time, I laughed along with the class, but I later asked my father what they meant by “Jap” after school. He was vague and kind in answering, but I understood. I knew that my dad was Japanese and that my mom was Caucasian, mostly German, but I never saw myself as really either, or even both. Being mixed race wasn’t something I thought about at the time, but I have never since forgotten.

My parents often tossed around the word “hapa” in reference to my sister and me. They picked up the term back when they were in college in southern California where people often describe anyone who is half-Asian as “hapa.” Growing up, I naturally adopted the word without much thought. But after I entered high school, I began to question what exactly I considered to be my personal identity.

I started the cultural club, Hapa, with the intention of creating a space for people that similarly identify as mixed race and Asian. When I first came to Swarthmore, I was surprised that there wasn’t a community for students from multicultural and multiethnic backgrounds. Everyone in SAO (Swarthmore Asian Organization) was kind and welcoming, but I didn’t feel completely comfortable; I didn’t see anyone like myself in the people around me…

Read the entire article here.

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

English 49, “Whiteness” and Racial Difference

Posted in Course Offerings, History, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, Passing, United States on 2014-12-21 01:28Z by Steven

English 49, “Whiteness” and Racial Difference

Swarthmore College, Swarthmore, Pennsylvania
Spring 1997

Peter Schmidt, William R. Kenan, Jr. Professor of English Literature

A look at the conflicted ways in which “racial” identities and differences have been constructed in past and contemporary cultures, especially in the U.S. Topics given emphasis in the syllabus include why saying “race doesn’t matter” is not enough; how a new debates about the history of race have changed American Studies and feminist studies; how European immigrants to the U.S. became “white” and with what benefits and what costs; how popular culture can both resist and perpetuate racist culture; and an introduction to issues of “passing,” multi-racial identity, and recovering a multiracial past. The format of the class will include both lecture and student-led discussion.

For more information, click here.

Tags: ,

Hang Tough, Martina

Posted in Arts, Live Events, Media Archive, United States, Women on 2010-09-30 01:07Z by Steven

Hang Tough, Martina

Frear Ensemble Theatre
Swarthmore College, Swarthmore, Pennsylvania
2004-02-27 through 2004-02-29
Saturday at 20:00, Sunday at 14:00

Composed and Performed By: Audrey Pernell
In Collaboration with: Vernice Miller and Jessica Nakamura
Directed by: Vernice Miller
Music: Ralph Denzer

The Department of Theater presents an honors thesis project by Audrey Pernell, directed by Vernice Miller as Artist-in-Residence. Hang Tough, Martina is a work in progress composed and performed by Audrey Pernell ’04 in collaboration with Vernice Miller and Jessica Nakamura ’03. It is an exploration of light-skinned black/biracial black-white identity using a fusion of European and African performance elements, made most evident through the characterization of a contemporary griot-opera-diva.

Tags: , , , ,