Moving beyond monoracial categories

Posted in Articles, Asian Diaspora, Media Archive, Philosophy, Social Science, United States on 2015-01-26 20:42Z by Steven

Moving beyond monoracial categories

The Daily: of the University of Washington

Emily Muirhead

I once had a professor claim that in 50 years, everyone will be so racially “mixed” and therefore ambiguous, no one will be able to distinguish “what someone is,” so race won’t matter much anymore.

As a biracial individual who has been asked “What are you?” more times than not, race does matter. It matters more than many people choose to believe. Despite the fact that racial categories are arbitrary social constructs, race still has very real personal and public implications aside from blatant racism — which seems to be the only times race is actually is talked about.

Categorizing someone into a racial category upon meeting them happens instantaneously. For most people this isn’t problematic because it’s merely a harmless form of observation, but sometimes, regardless of intent, a person’s race negatively or positively changes how someone is perceived and interacted with.

Ralina Joseph, associate professor in the communication, ethnic studies, and women’s studies departments, and a woman of color, has experienced racially rooted assumptions when it comes to teaching. She explained how on a number of occasions on the first day of class while standing alongside a white male TA, students will wrongly address the TA as “professor,” likely due to the image that comes to mind when one thinks of a person in this profession — i.e., a white man.

Being half-Japanese and half-Caucasian (predominantly Scottish), I straddle two sides of a racial spectrum, one foot in an American minority and the other in the majority. I’ve even been called “exotic,” a Eurocentric term that labels me as a sort of racial commodity against which monoracial individuals may be measured. To some, my whiteness blended with Asian features automatically places me into the irritatingly vague racial category of “half-white, half-something,” but there is much more to my identity than that…

Read the entire article here.

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Mixed: Race cannot be invisible

Posted in Articles, Asian Diaspora, Autobiography, Media Archive, United States on 2014-12-26 01:27Z by Steven

Mixed: Race cannot be invisible

The Daily of the University of Washington

Hayat Norimine

For most of my life, I was opposed to the concept of “diversity.” Half-Japanese, half-Syrian, I was the definition of racially diverse, but I also loathed being labeled.

I thought diversity was difficult to define. I thought race alone was never a good indication of someone’s personal experiences.

I was afraid of what my race meant. And of all the superpowers that I could wish for, invisibility was always my choice — not just for me, but for the world. Colorblindness seemed like the opposite of racism to me: Ignore race and move beyond seeing race as essential. To be completely free from judging eyes is something I would have wished on everyone growing up. To be both colorblind and color-free…

…We don’t live in a post-racial world. Luckily, we live in a world after Martin Luther King Jr. We live in a country in which “diversity” is no longer used as slander and is actually seen as a positive attribute. But even in Brazil — arguably the most diverse country in the world — where there are up to 500 racial categorizations, there is still discrimination. There is still historical oppression…

Read the article here.

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UW communication professor unveils new book about race

Posted in Articles, Communications/Media Studies, Media Archive, United States on 2013-07-06 13:48Z by Steven

UW communication professor unveils new book about race

The Daily of the University of Washington

LaVendrick Smith

Ralina Joseph discusses her book cover art at “Troubling the Family and Transcending Blackness” held at the UW bookstore.

Photo by Dario Nanbu

Race, reality, and pop culture collide in a new book written by one UW communication professor.

In “Transcending Blackness: From the New Millennium Mulatta to the Exceptional Multiracial,” Ralina Joseph, a UW associate professor of communication, explores how multiracial African Americans were represented in the 10 years leading up to President Obama’s 2008 campaign.

Joseph held a joint book-signing and discussion about mixed-race relations with UW English professor Habiba Ibrahim at the U Book Store Feb. 7.

In “Transcending Blackness,” Joseph compares real-life depictions of multiracial African Americans to their roles in pop culture and politics.

“I’m just sort of interested in seeing how multiracial people have been and are represented,” she said.

Joseph, a multiracial African American herself, said that while researching the topic, she noticed a clear difference in the way multiracial people identify in real life and the way they are identified through the media.

“What I was seeing on TV, in movies, in novels, and memoirs, was not like the kind of complex people I knew in real life,” she said.

She said multiracial African Americans she encounters in real life have fluidity in the way they identify themselves, whereas she saw a constant need to identify mixed race in pop culture in a way that often degraded African Americans…

Read the entire article here.

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Curriculum corner

Posted in Articles, Course Offerings, United States, Women on 2010-10-04 21:18Z by Steven

Curriculum corner

The Daily of The University of Washington

Laurel Christensen

Despite talk of budget cuts, swelling classes and disappearing instructors, the UW is offering more than 50 new courses this quarter. These are a few unique courses now available to students…

Intergenerational Roots: A Mixed Heritage Family Oral History Project

Offered through the School of Social Work, Intergenerational Roots: A Mixed Heritage Family Oral History Project forgoes papers and exams to explore the history of mixed-heritage families directly by interviewing people of mixed race.

Instructor Theresa Ronquillo hopes that the course will teach students new skills in art, public relations, history, interviewing and event planning, as well as to help students understand the issues faced by the mixed-heritage community.

“I consider this very much a student-driven course, so while I am here to provide structure and guidance, my expectation is for participating students to take on the challenge and just go with it,” said Ronquillo.

Open to all students, this 1-credit course takes no more than 12 students per quarter.

Ronquillo hopes to work with students who have, “a willingness to learn new skills and [to] develop [and] engage in a creative, dynamic learning community.”

Taken over three quarters, this class is designed to be continuous, culminating in an oral history art exhibit at the end of the year. Each quarter can also be taken individually.

“Fall quarter will focus on student outreach, curriculum development and networking with potential university and community partners,” said Ronquillo. Winter and spring quarters will be more focused on interviewing, community art and event planning…

Read the entire article here.

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