Merle Dandridge on “Blasian” Identity and Oprah Winfrey Network’s new summer original series “Greenleaf”

Posted in Articles, Arts, Asian Diaspora, Identity Development/Psychology, Interviews, Media Archive, United States on 2016-06-21 19:57Z by Steven

Merle Dandridge on “Blasian” Identity and Oprah Winfrey Network’s new summer original series “Greenleaf”

CAAM: Center of Asian American Media
2016-06-20

Mitzi Uehara Carter

Merle Dandridge started her career on Broadway with leading roles in Spamalot, Aida, Rent, Tarzan, and Jesus Christ Superstar. Not only does she have singing chops, she shines on screen. Dandridge has been cast in recurring roles on television shows including The Night Shift, CSI: Miami and Stalker.

Dandridge has also broken into a field that is gaining more serious attention from actors — video games. Female actors can often find well developed, complex characters in narrative-led gaming roles. This year, she won BAFTA’ best performer for her role in the popular post-apocalyptic Playstation game, “Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture.”

I spoke with Dandridge about her starring role in the upcoming original drama series, Greenleaf, on the Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN), which debuts June 21, 2016. This is her first lead role on a television series. Dandridge talked to me via phone from Los Angeles about this new summer drama that is chock-full of award-winning actors and writers. We also squealed about being Black and Asian and she hinted at a possible “Kimchi and Collards” project…

Ok, Merle. I’m Black and Asian and I have to tell you I did a little happy dance when I learned your mother is Asian and your dad is Black American right? And you were born in Okinawa where my mom is from. Seriously now. I’m so psyched you’re Black Asian. Can you tell me a little about growing up with this very particular mixed background?

Your kidding me? I don’t know others of that mix. How interesting! My mother is half Japanese and Korean. And I have older siblings who are mostly Korean, 1/4 Japanese, because of my mom’s first marriage to a Korean man. I was born in Okinawa but most of my time in Asia was in Seoul. My mother belongs to two cultures that didn’t really accept her 100 percent. So she had this understanding of rejection based on her own experiences. She would look at me and say, “You are of different ethnicities and you might not always be accepted so go into the world knowing that and know that you are more than that. You are beautiful.” And in many ways she instilled a sense of who I was and gave me ways to encounter fears of not being fully accepted. And in Nebraska as one of the only ones [mixed Asians], I think it was a good exercise in becoming a good person because I think I had to be above the confusion, the potential rejections…

Read the entire interview here.

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A Brazilian Artist’s ‘Self-Portraits’ Explore The Beauty Of Interracial Identity

Posted in Articles, Arts, Brazil, Caribbean/Latin America, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive on 2016-06-18 23:46Z by Steven

A Brazilian Artist’s ‘Self-Portraits’ Explore The Beauty Of Interracial Identity

The Huffington Post
2016-06-17

Katherine Brooks, Senior Arts & Culture Editor

In honor of mestizaje, Adriana Varejão paints herself donning the markings and ornamentation of Native Americans.

In 1976, a Brazilian census asked citizens of the country — for the very first time — to describe and identify their own skin color.

This was a significant moment for the former European colony, now considered one of the most ethnically diverse nations in the world, that’s historically struggled with discriminatory policies that disproportionately affect African descendants and interracial people. Though it may have been used for more nefarious purposes at the time, the census was a small step in affirming the many identities that exist in Brazil, wedged in the massive gap between black and white.

The survey produced over 130 different skin color descriptions, ranging from “Morena-roxa” (purplish-tan) to “Café-com-leite” (milky coffee) to “Queimada-de-sol” (sun-kissed). Fast forward a few decades, and Brazilian artist Adriana Varejão became transfixed with the multitude of colors expressed in the census, interested in the ways it illustrated — in sensual detail — the beauty of mestizaje, or the mixing of ancestries, in her home.

So in 2014, Varejão, who lives and works in Rio de Janeiro, created “Polvo,” a series of self-portraits that explore the diversity of identity in Brazil using a paint palette inspired by the 1976 census. First, she mixed oil paints herself, reproducing colors like “Amarela-quemada” (burnt yellow or ochre) and “Paraíba” (like the color of marupa wood) as pigments. Then, she painted her own image, over and over, in a variety of browns, pinks, blacks and whites; a reflection of the many ways Brazilian self-definition takes form…

Read the entire article here.

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“What are you?”: Mixed race responses to the racial gaze

Posted in Articles, Canada, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, Social Justice on 2016-06-14 01:34Z by Steven

“What are you?”: Mixed race responses to the racial gaze

Ethnicities
Published online before print 2015-12-16
DOI: 10.1177/1468796815621938

Jillian Paragg
Department of Sociology
University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada

Mixed race scholarship considers the deployment of the term “mixed race” as an identification and theorizes that the operation of the external racial gaze is signaled through the “what are you?” question that mixed race people face in their everyday lives. In interviews conducted with mixed race, young adults in a Western Canadian urban context, it was evident that the “what are you?” question is the verbal form of the external racial gaze’s production of ambivalence on mixed race bodies. However, this study also found that mixed race people have “ready” identity narratives in response to the “what are you?” question. This paper shows the importance of these narratives (the very existence of the “ready” narratives, as well as the content of the “ready” narrative) for fleshing out the operation of the external racial gaze in the Canadian context. Respondents draw on two closely related modes of narrating origin when responding to the “what are you?” question: they respond through a kinship narrative that is heteronormative and they narrate that they inherit “national origin” “through blood.” I argue that these responses point to how the gaze produces the multiracialized body through the desire to imagine and “know” its originary point of racial mixing. Yet, the “ready” narratives are also agential: while at times they narrate to the expectations of the gaze, they also “play on” the gaze.

Read or purchase the article here.

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Searching for Identity: Race, adoption and awareness in the millennial generation

Posted in Articles, Autobiography, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, Social Science, United States on 2016-06-09 20:05Z by Steven

Searching for Identity: Race, adoption and awareness in the millennial generation

Medium
2016-05-19

Dwight Smith

What happens when a black boy is adopted at birth into a white world where race and racism are ghosts of the past and racial identity is a silly thing to waste time thinking about? As a transracial adult adoptee of color, my life journey reveals some insight into this very question.

And what happens when a mostly white millennial generation is raised without an accurate understanding of race, racism or their role in a racialized society? As Slate’s chief political correspondent Jamelle Bouie puts it, our generation “think[s] if we ignore skin color, racism will somehow disappear.”

Both questions are connected because I — and many of my millennial peers — came up in similar race-erasing worlds. Both questions are important to me, because my life experiences motivate me to address the racial confusion of the millennial generation.

I lead the Impact Race initiative for a global nonprofit called Net Impact, connecting our 100,000 members with the awareness, language and resources to lead for racial equity in their communities and careers. Members represent hundreds of campuses and companies across a wide variety of industries, including the local tech industry. Aspects of my journey as a transracial adoptee, and the majority white millennial generation experience in the United States, highlight the importance of pushing the conversation toward an honest, reflective look at how to understand racism and lead for racial equity.

Ignorance is bliss, until it isn’t.

I am a mixed-race black male raised in and around whiteness. Race had about as much real significance as the color of one’s shoelaces, and racism was a wrong of years gone by. In this world, to be ‘black’ (this is how I was and am categorized) meant a list of hollow stereotypes such as the expectation of athletic skill. But mostly there was just deafening silence when it came to me being black. Of course, all of this was ‘normal’ to me, in the sense that it was all I ever knew. It was also normal to all the white kids I grew up around. This is, in part, the reason that a ‘raceless’, colorblind worldview is normal to many of my white millennial peers today…

…Simply opening one’s eyes is not enough, we must seek the context to interpret that which we now see. My faith, my current understanding of the factors that influenced my childhood experiences as a transracial adoptee, and my everyday experience as a black man in America, fuel my life’s commitment to education and advocacy…

Read the entire article here.

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Fractionalized: Stories of Biracial Joy, Pain, Struggle and Triumph

Posted in Articles, Autobiography, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, United States on 2016-06-09 18:07Z by Steven

Fractionalized: Stories of Biracial Joy, Pain, Struggle and Triumph

Madison 365
Madison, Wisconsin
2016-06-25

Mia Sato, Senior
University of Wisconsin, Madison

Mixed.

Multi.

One-half-this and one-quarter-that. Biracial, mixed-race, “two or more races.” In a world obsessed with labels, the pressure to claim oneself as part of a racial group is an inescapable reality for a small but growing population. We are confronted by it with questions like, “What are you?” which we can instantly recognize as a question pointing to heritage. Census forms or surveys ask us to check a box identifying our ethnicity; on rare occasions we’re offered “Multiracial” but we frequently settle for “Other.” People identifying as mixed race may feel connected to all of their backgrounds, only one or some of them, or to none; race is complex enough as it is, but once two or more categories come into play, even more questions are raised.

What is clear is that people who carry a mixed race identity do not experience their race in the same way, even if they share the same racial mix. Location, social interaction, family attitudes about race and environments all inform how they think, feel and speak about being mixed race. Even more, an individual’s own interpretation of their multicultural background may shift and change with time; it is a process of discovery, affirmation, questioning and rejection.

Below, five individuals share their own journey of a mixed-race identity. No story is the same, but all lead to one reality that is obvious: they are hardly a fraction of a race. They are full, whole, complete, and here are their stories, in all their diverse glory…

Read the entire article here.

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Book reading with SHARON H. CHANG: Raising Mixed Race

Posted in Asian Diaspora, Identity Development/Psychology, Live Events, Media Archive, United States on 2016-06-01 01:33Z by Steven

Book reading with SHARON H. CHANG: Raising Mixed Race

Wing Luke Museum of the Asian Pacific American Experience
719 South King Street
Seattle, Washington 98104
Thursday, 2016-06-02, 18:00-20:00 PDT (Local Time)

Sharon H. Chang has worked with young children and families for over a decade. She is a scholar and activist who focuses on racism, social justice and the Asian American diaspora with a feminist lens.

She will read from her inaugural book, Raising Mixed Race: Multiracial Asian Children In a Post-Racial World.

Her writings have appeared in BuzzFeed, Hyphen Magazine, ParentMap Magazine, Seattle Globalist and more. She is also a consultant for Families of Color Seattle and is on the planning committee for the Critical Mixed Race Conference.

Sharon will be available after the book reading to sign copies of her book. Books will be available for sale in The Wing Marketplace.

This event is free and open to the public.

For more information, click here.

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Understanding the Stressors and Types of Discrimination That Can Affect Multiracial Individuals: Things to Address and Avoid in Psychotherapy Practice

Posted in Articles, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, United States on 2016-05-31 23:11Z by Steven

Understanding the Stressors and Types of Discrimination That Can Affect Multiracial Individuals: Things to Address and Avoid in Psychotherapy Practice

Psychotherapy Bulletin
Society for the Advancement of Psychotherapy
Volume 50, Issue 2 (2015)
pages 56-60

Astrea Greig, PsyD

As the multiracial population is vastly growing in the United States (Humes, Jones, & Ramirez, 2011), it is important to know about the unique experiences that affect multiracial people, as these can arise in psychotherapy or during casual interactions in the clinic or office. Multiracial people are racially and culturally diverse and identify with two or more races. Multiracial clients are often young, and multiracial children are the fastest growing demographic group in the U.S. (Saulny, 2011). Moreover, interracial marriages have been at an all-time high recently (Chen, 2010). This increase is likely related to the historic racist laws in the U.S. that made interracial marriage illegal in many states, until federally overruled in 1967 with the Loving v. Virginia case. Yet, despite the fact that multiracial people are now one of the fastest growing populations in the United States, it is still one of the smallest demographic groups, comprising only 2.3% of the American population (Humes, Jones, & Ramirez, 2011). Additionally, though mental health professionals should have adequate multicultural or diversity training, the multiracial population is often not studied as extensively as other racial and ethnic groups…

Read the entire article here.

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Woman Crush(ing the Patriarchy) Wednesday: Omaris Zunilda Zamora

Posted in Articles, Identity Development/Psychology, Latino Studies, Media Archive, United States on 2016-05-20 21:50Z by Steven

Woman Crush(ing the Patriarchy) Wednesday: Omaris Zunilda Zamora

Latina
2016-05-18

Raquel Reichard, Politics & Culture Editor

Black and Latina/Chicana feminisms are life-affirming for countless women of color, but in both movements, AfroLatinas are left at the periphery, if acknowledged at all. This week’s #WCW Omaris Zunilda Zamora wants to change that.

The Chicago-born, New York-livin’ dominicana is a literary scholar who looks to AfroLatina knowledge producers to help bridge the gap between theory and practice. When she’s not teaching at Brooklyn College or completing her Ph.D. in Afro-Latino Cultural & Literary Studies at the University of Texas at Austin, Zamora is bringing her AfroLatina feminism to the interwebs.

Ahead, learn how this mujer arrived at her AfroLatina feminist thought and how she uses it to crush the anti-Black, xenophobic, classist patriarchy.

Can you tell our readers a little more about your work as a scholar?

As an AfroLatina and Dominican literary scholar, my work looks to bridge the gap between theory and practice by first acknowledging AfroLatina women as knowledge producers. Our knowledge is informed through our bodies and the relationships that we have with ourselves and other women in our communities. The idea is that our bodies as Black women take up space in a very particular way. Furthermore, I look at the narratives and stories by transnational Dominican women to further understand how the African diaspora can expand how we think about blackness, gender and sexuality…

Read the entire article here.

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Michael Dixon: A Discussion About Race, Representation, and Biracial Identity

Posted in Articles, Arts, Identity Development/Psychology, Interviews, Media Archive, United States on 2016-05-18 20:59Z by Steven

Michael Dixon: A Discussion About Race, Representation, and Biracial Identity

Or Does It Explode
2016-03-14

Tasha Mathew

Michael Dixon is a California-born artist who teaches as an associate professor at Albion College and was recently awarded studio space in New York through the Sharpe-Walentas Studio Program. His paintings direct us toward controversy, self-reflection, and an appreciation for the value of these experiences.

Dixon explores the personal experiences of biracial blacks, including an immersive investigation into his own experiences. As such, concepts of social psychology condense within each portrait – concepts such as social identity theory and self-categorization theory – allowing us to explore our identification with one particular group over another.

His most recent projects include Shared Histories/Turkey: an investigations into Turkish, biracial blacks and The More Things Change, The More Things Stay The Same: a reflection upon the recent killings of unarmed black men…

Read the entire interview here.

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Beyond Black: Biracial Identity in America – Book Review

Posted in Articles, Book/Video Reviews, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, United States on 2016-05-01 20:15Z by Steven

Beyond Black: Biracial Identity in America – Book Review

National Association of Student Personnel Administrators (NASPA)
2016-04-04

Shauna Harris

Rockquemore, Kerry Ann and David L. Brunsma, Beyond Black: Biracial Identity in America (Second Edition) (Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield, 2007).

Beyond Black is a groundbreaking study that used both interview and survey data of young black/white individuals that sought to understand the meaning of being racially mixed in the United States by providing a theoretical and methodical analysis of racial identity for multiracial individuals in post-civil rights America.

Kerry Ann Rockquemore and David Brunsma document the comprehensive range of racial identities of individuals that have one Black and one White parent and provide a sociological explanation of the identity choices facing those who are racially mixed. The purpose of focusing on black/white racially mixed individuals stems from the fact these two groups still have the most social and spatial separation in the United States. Racial categorization among black/white individuals still poses continuing questions about how racially mixed individuals construct their identity and the constant use of the one-drop rule to identity multiracial individuals as black…

Read the entire review here.

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