Raising Mixed Race: Multiracial Asian Children in a Post-Racial World

Posted in Asian Diaspora, Books, Family/Parenting, Forthcoming Media, Identity Development/Psychology, Monographs, Social Science, United States on 2015-05-26 13:45Z by Steven

Raising Mixed Race: Multiracial Asian Children in a Post-Racial World

Paradigm Publishers
October 2015
192 pages
Trim size: 6″ x 9″
Hardcover ISBN: 978-1-61205-848-1

Sharon H. Chang

Research continues to uncover early childhood as a crucial time when we set the stage for who we will become. In the last decade, we have also seen a sudden massive shift in America’s racial makeup with the majority of the current under-5 age population being children of color. Asian and multiracial are the fastest growing self-identified groups in the United States. More than 2 million people indicated being mixed race Asian on the 2010 Census. Yet, young multiracial Asian children are vastly underrepresented in the literature on racial identity. Why? And what are these children learning about themselves in an era that tries to be ahistorical, believes the race problem has been “solved,” and that mixed race people are proof of it? This book is drawn from extensive research and interviews with sixty-eight parents of multiracial children. It is the first to examine the complex task of supporting our youngest around being “two or more races” and Asian while living amongst “post-racial” ideologies.

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The Psychological Advantages of Strongly Identifying As Biracial

Posted in Articles, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, United States on 2015-05-24 18:38Z by Steven

The Psychological Advantages of Strongly Identifying As Biracial

New York Magazine
2015-05-22

Lisa Miller

As I reported in the most recent issue of New York, a new program at an elite private school in New York aims to combat racism by dividing young children, some as young as 8 years old, into “affinity groups” according to their race. The program has been controversial among parents, many of whom believe it is their job, and not the school’s, to impart racial identity to their kids. This feeling is particularly strong among parents who have multi-racial kids. Their identities, many of them say, don’t fit into any established racial category but instead live on the frontier of race.

These sorts of questions about racial identity are only going to become more prominent given ongoing demographic changes in the United States. Multi-racial births are soaring — to 7 percent of all births in the U.S., according to the last Census — a result of more inter-racial coupling and also a broader cultural acceptance of the tag “multi-racial.” (Only as recently as 2000 did the Census even offer a “multi-racial” category — for hundreds of years, stigma has compelled multi-racial people to choose one or the other of their parents’ racial identities, both on government forms and in society.).

But even as multi-racial people take prominent and visible places in all the nation’s hierarchies — golf, pop music, cinema, finance, and, of course, in the executive branch of the United States government — very little psychological research has been done on what it means to have a multi-racial identity, and how that identity is different from having a “mono-racial” one. Now a new literature review, published in Current Directions in Psychological Science by Sarah Gaither, a post-doc at the University of Chicago (who is herself biracial), assesses the psychological landscape of multi-racial identity and points to new directions for research.

Here are some of the key findings:…

Read the entire article here.

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Balancing a Japanese and Irish Heritage

Posted in Articles, Asian Diaspora, Autobiography, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, United States on 2015-05-23 20:07Z by Steven

Balancing a Japanese and Irish Heritage

Psychology Today
2015-05-22

Stephen Murphy-Shigematsu Ed.D.

Learning to live with complexity and ambiguity

When I was growing up I thought I was American until someone would remind me I wasn’t. With kids it was a simple, “Jap” or “Chink” but with Mom it was more complicated. She would usually tell me I was American but sometimes would suddenly use funny expressions like ishin denshin, which she said means “to communicate the heart by means of the heart.” It implies that words are not necessary and Mom claimed that a Japanese child (me) should know ishin denshin. She would say this when I failed to understand something she had not said. My mother’s frustration was even greater with my American father.

A typical day in our home:

We’re sitting around the table at breakfast and Mom says, “The windows are dirty.”

Dad glances up from his newspaper and coffee and says, “Yeah.”

The kids go to school, mom goes to work and dad stays home.

At dinner that night mom is in a bad mood, banging the pots and pans as she cooks dinner for three hungry kids. Finally dad asks, “What’s wrong?”…

Read the entire article here.

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The Case for Black Doctors

Posted in Articles, Health/Medicine/Genetics, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, United States on 2015-05-18 02:19Z by Steven

The Case for Black Doctors

The New York Times
2015-05-15

Damon Tweedy, Assistant Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences
Duke University, Durham, North Carolina

DURHAM, N.C. — IN virtually every field of medicine, black patients as a group fare the worst. This was one of my first and most painful lessons as a medical student nearly 20 years ago.

The statistics that made my stomach cramp back then are largely the same today: The infant mortality rate in the black population is twice that of whites. Black men are seven times more likely than white men to receive a diagnosis of H.I.V. and more than twice as likely to die of prostate cancer. Black women have nearly double the obesity rate of white women and are 40 percent more likely to die from breast cancer. Black people experience much higher rates of hypertension, diabetes and stroke. The list goes on and on.

The usual explanations for these health disparities — poverty, poor access to medical care and unhealthy lifestyle choices, to name a few — are certainly valid, but the longer I’ve practiced medicine, the more I’ve come to appreciate a factor that is less obvious: the dearth of black doctors. Only around 5 percent of practicing physicians are black, compared with more than 13 percent of Americans overall.

As a general rule, black patients are more likely to feel comfortable with black doctors. Studies have shown that they are more likely to seek them out for treatment, and to report higher satisfaction with their care. In addition, more black doctors practice in high-poverty communities of color, where physicians are relatively scarce…

…Another time, I worked with a young woman who struggled with her biracial identity. Her black father had been abusive to her white mother when she was a child, and she found herself both afraid of and hostile toward black men. Because she physically resembled her father in many ways, she had also turned these negative feelings inward. Not surprisingly, her initial impression of me was unfavorable, but a friend encouraged her to come back to see me…

Read the entire review here.

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Mixed Race in Australia and the region

Posted in Forthcoming Media, Identity Development/Psychology, Live Events, Oceania, Social Science on 2015-05-15 20:09Z by Steven

Mixed Race in Australia and the region

University of Western Australia (UWA)
2015-06-08 through 2015-06-10

Conveners: Farida Fozdar

People of ‘mixed race’ are often seen as marginal individuals managing cultural and psychological tensions, or alternatively valorised as the vanguard of an integrated, post-racial, cosmopolitan world (Edwards et al. 2012). Such dichotomies ignore the complex lived reality of being mixed – ranging from ‘passing’, to constructing multiracial identities, to embracing a cultural identity not necessarily reflected in one’s appearance (see Perkins, 2007; Paradies, 2006; Song and Aspinall, 2012; Jones, 2011). Mixed identities are not singular and fixed, but multiple and fluid (Nandi & Platt 2012; Tilbury, 2007; Paradies, 2006), often characterised by ‘ordinariness’ (Caballero, 2012). The lived experience of being ‘mixed’ is strongly influenced by political and social context (Luke and Luke, 1999). While a growing body of research exists on ‘mixed race’, more productive approaches are needed to investigate the cultural production of ‘mixedness’.

Perhaps surprisingly, Australia and the region lag behind the rest of the world in research on ‘mixed race’. There has been little public debate about the place of ‘mixed race’ in Australia and New Zealand (see Fozdar and Perkins, 2014). The subject does rate a hearing in Australia, however, in regard to people of mixed Aboriginal descent (Andrew Bolt style) (see Paradies, 2006). The social and political contexts of mixed race in Australia, New Zealand and the region offer complex histories of colonisation and migration, making this region an important counterpoint to the large bodies of research undertaken in the UK and US.

We invite papers on mixed race in Australia and surrounding countries, with a particular focus on mixed race across the life course (Csizmadia, 2012), the health and development of young people and families; cross-country comparison, and transgenerational effects. We are keen to include papers on mixed race of all types.

Invited speakers include:

  • Prof Rosalind Edwards (Southampton)
  • Dr Chamion Caballero (LSE)
  • Prof Yin Paradies (Deakin)
  • Prof David Trigger (UQ)
  • Dr Kirsten McGavin (UQ)

View the program guide here.

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Being ‘Mixed Race': Kira Lea Dargin and Annina Chirade

Posted in Audio, Autobiography, Europe, Identity Development/Psychology, Interviews, Media Archive, Oceania, United Kingdom on 2015-05-13 15:58Z by Steven

Being ‘Mixed Race': Kira Lea Dargin and Annina Chirade

BBC World Service
The Conversation
2015-05-11

Kim Chakanetsa, Presenter

Left: Kira Lea Dargin. Credit: Claire Mahjoub, SSH. Right: Annina Chirade. Credit: Adu Lalouschek

Kira Lea Dargin’s parents met at church. Her mother is white from a Russian family who emigrated to Australia in the 1950s, and her father is Aboriginal Australian. Being “mixed” Kira says, means constantly having to explain how you came about or how your family manages to blend. Having come through some difficult times as a teenager Kira now happily identifies with both of her cultural backgrounds. As the director of ‘Aboriginal Model Management Australia‘, her mission is to help broaden how Australian beauty is defined.

Annina Chirade describes herself as Ghanaian Austrian. She is the founder and editor of Rooted In magazine. When she was growing up, between London and Vienna, people would often question whether she was related to her fair, straight-haired mother. After many years obsessively straightening her own “kinky, curly, Afro-” hair as a teenager, she found her own style – inspired by the confident styles of black female singers like Erykah Badu. Annina says that when you are ‘mixed-race’ people make assumptions about your identity and consider it to be “up for debate”, but she is clear that “whiteness is not something I’m a part of.”

Listen to the interview here.

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An Overlooked Classic About the Comedy of Race

Posted in Articles, Book/Video Reviews, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, United States on 2015-05-08 01:55Z by Steven

An Overlooked Classic About the Comedy of Race

The New Yorker
2015-05-07

Danzy Senna


Illustration by Roman Muradov

The first time I read Fran Ross’s hilarious, badass novel, “Oreo,” I was living on Fort Greene Place, in Brooklyn, in a community of people I thought of as “the dreadlocked élite.” It was the late nineteen-nineties, and the artisanal cheese shops and organic juice bars had not yet fully arrived in the boroughs, though there were hints of what was to come. Poor people and artists could still afford to live there. We were young and black, and we’d moved to the neighborhood armed with graduate degrees and creative ambitions. There was a quiet storm of what the musician and writer Greg Tate described as “Black Genius” brewing in our midst. Spike Lee had set up a production studio inside the old firehouse on DeKalb Avenue. Around the corner, on Lafayette Street, was Kokobar, a black-owned espresso shop decorated with Basquiat-inspired paintings; there were whispers that Tracy Chapman and Alice Walker were investors. Around the corner, on Elliott Street, Lisa Price, a.k.a. Carol’s Daughter, sold organic hair oils and creams for kinky-curly hair out of a brownstone storefront.

Years earlier, I had read Trey Ellis’s seminal essay “The New Black Aesthetic” in my West Coast dorm room, curled beside my dreadlocked, half-Jewish boyfriend. We saw glimmers of ourselves in his description of a new generation of black artists. We, too, had been born post-civil-rights movement, post-Loving, post-soul, post-everything. We were suspicious of militancy, black or otherwise; suspicious of claims to authenticity, racial and otherwise. We were culturally hybrid—“cultural mulattos,” as Ellis put it—whether we had one white parent or not.

Now, in nineties Fort Greene, we had arrived. Many of the black kids in our midst were recovering oreos: they had grown up listening to the Clash, not Public Enemy, playing hacky-sack, not basketball. They were all too accustomed to, as my friend Jake Lamar once put it, being the only black person at the dinner party.

Only now we were throwing our own dinner party. We were demi-teint—half-tone—a shade of blackness that had been formed in a clash of disparate symbols and signifiers; there was nothing pure about us. We were authentically nothing. Each of us had experienced a degree of alienation growing up—too black to be white, or too white to be black, or too mixed to be anything—and somehow, at the same moment in time, we’d all moved into the same ten-block radius of Brooklyn.

“Oreo” came to me in this context like a strange, uncanny dream about a future that was really the past. That is, it read like a novel not from 1974 but from the near future—a book whose appearance I was still waiting for. I stared at the author photo of the woman wearing the peasant smock and her hair in an Afro and could easily imagine her moving through the streets of Fort Greene. She belonged to our world. Her blackness was our blackness…

Read the entire article here.

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Three Unmissable Books That Can Help Us Honor Our Past

Posted in Articles, Asian Diaspora, Book/Video Reviews, Family/Parenting, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, Social Science, United States on 2015-05-05 14:58Z by Steven

Three Unmissable Books That Can Help Us Honor Our Past

Pacific Citizen: The National Newspaper of the JACL
2015-04-30

Ryan Kenji Kuramitsu, JACL MDC Youth Representative

‘It was books,” wrote social critic James Baldwin, “that taught me that the things that tormented me most were the very things that connected me with all the people who were alive, or who had ever been alive.”

As Japanese Americans, our history and experiences offer far greater lessons than simple condemnations of the racism, war hysteria and failure of political leadership that led to our mass incarceration. Rather than trapping us in ancient history, our community’s unique moral perspective can advantage us to speak into a number of modern social struggles, connecting us with all people who are alive.

In this vein, here are three unmissable books that can help us honor our past as we continue to draw fresh connections to present challenges…

…3.  “Raising Mixed Race: Multiracial Asian Children in a Post-Racial World” — In her debut work, sociologist and critical mixed-race theorist Sharon H. Chang brings years of research and writing experience to the project of aiding multiracial Asian American families navigate critical conversations on multiracial identity. Chang’s holistic and intersectional work delves into intensive interviews with 68 parents of mixed-race children, providing readers with invaluable insight and practical observations on the labor of raising multiracial Asian children in a “post-racial” society forever fixated on a black-white racial binary…

Read the entire retive here.

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My body is not an apology: Race, Representation & Beauty by Emma Dabiri

Posted in Anthropology, Articles, Autobiography, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive on 2015-04-24 20:05Z by Steven

My body is not an apology: Race, Representation & Beauty by Emma Dabiri

Thandie Kay
2015-04-19

Emma Dabiri, Teaching Fellow
Africa Department, School of African and Oriental Studies, London
Visual Sociology Ph.D. Researcher, Goldsmiths University of London


Emma Dabiri

Emma Dabiri is an Irish-Nigerian PhD researcher in Goldsmiths, and teaching fellow in the Africa Department at The School of Oriental African Studies. She also works as a commercial model. Thandie encountered her when she read an article Emma wrote for The New Statesman earlier this year. They struck up a Twitter chat, and the rest is history – as written by @TheDiasporaDiva. Welcome to her 21st century world.

I recently got caught up in an online debate about a black celebrity who has completely transformed her face, arguably to make it look more European. While the jury was out as to whether or not she should have had plastic surgery, the conversation was largely framed around whether or not the surgery was successful. Ultimately this was judged by whether or not she had achieved that elusive, subjective, and most coveted of assets, “beauty”.

I was struck by the sensation that something was very wrong with the whole picture. Why do we continue to allow our options to be constrained within such a tyrannical framework, whereby a woman’s worth is calculated by the way she looks? Why don’t we push for a redefinition of what is important?

Regardless of the outcome of the surgery, I think it is unlikely this celeb will be satisfied. Insecurities are rarely vanquished by indulging the processes responsible for creating them; If anything they are multiplied…

…In my early teens I was very much the awkward black girl. I was always overlooked for my white, skinny, mousey brown-haired friends. Nobody asked me to dance at discos. When playing spin the bottle I willed the bottle never to land on me. I couldn’t bear the shame I felt for the poor misfortunate who might be dared to kiss a creature as monstrous as me.

In addition to the usual pressures on a teenage girl, mine were compounded by race. My hair – goodness my hair

…So it was complex. I wanted to be seen as pretty, I craved the validation (an empty and shallow place to barter for your humanity, but how many of us succumb to it?) yet at the same time I was incredibly uncomfortable with the attention I got. I was always made to feel conspicuous; under scrutiny, an object to be examined. In his famous train passage, Fanon explores the psychological effects of subjection to the white gaze, upon the black subject-

“Look, a Negro…Look at the nigger!…Mama, a Negro!”(1986:112).

I remember, vividly, a flood of grateful relief upon first encountering these words. As an isolated, ‘mixed-race’ or black individual, in a predominantly white environment, you become a cipher, a representation of a coming anarchy. The barbarians have breached the gates, and you are the manifestation of all the images, fantasies, fears and desires that have been absorbed by a population fed a steady diet of racist discourse. You are constantly under surveillance. You become achingly aware of your every gesture; your movements, your very posture, are at all times under analysis. Mundane details, the minutiae of your daily routine, are a performance for public consumption. While, I could not articulate this at the time, I experienced the suffocating weight of such an existence deeply…

Read the entire article here.

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Kwame Anthony Appiah: The Complexities of Black Folk

Posted in Articles, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, Philosophy, United States on 2015-04-16 21:34Z by Steven

Kwame Anthony Appiah: The Complexities of Black Folk

The Stone
The New York Times
2015-04-16

George Yancy, Professor of Philosophy
Duquesne University, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Kwame Anthony Appiah, Professor of Law and Philosophy
New York University


Kwame Anthony Appiah

This is the 10th in a series of interviews with philosophers on race that I am conducting for The Stone. This week’s conversation is with Kwame Anthony Appiah, who teaches in New York University’s department of philosophy and its school of law. He has been the president of the American Philosophical Association, Eastern Division, and of the PEN American Center. He is the author of numerous books, including, most recently, “Lines of Descent: W.E.B. Du Bois and the Emergence of Identity.” — George Yancy

George Yancy: How did you become interested, philosophically, in the question of race? Did it grow out of something like a conceptual problem of reference, or did it come more out of lived experience? Or, perhaps this disjunction is a false start?

Kwame Anthony Appiah: I’m always skeptical when intellectuals give accounts of how they came about their interests! So you should take what I have to say as a set of hypotheses about my own past, not as the results of introspection, which yields nothing about this.

When I first started teaching in the United States in 1981 I had a joint appointment at Yale, in African and African-American studies, on the one hand, and philosophy, on the other, and I was casting about for things to do on the African and African-American side of my work, both as a teacher and as a scholar. I had been an undergraduate student at Cambridge in medical sciences for one year, and philosophy for two, and I was puzzled, as a newcomer to the United States, by the fact that many people appeared to think “race” was a biological concept, whereas I had been taught in my brief career in the life sciences to think it was not.

G.Y.: In your new book, “Lines of Descent,” you write that W.E.B. Du Bois saw himself as an American and a Negro (as opposed to an African-American). You state correctly how being an “American” and being a “Negro” did not fit well for him. I’m reminded of Du Bois’s encounter in “The Souls of Black Folk” with the tall (white) newcomer and how she refused to exchange visiting cards with him and how this signified early on in his life a deep tension in his sense of “racial” identity. Do you think contemporary African-Americans also find themselves possessed by, as Du Bois describes it, “two warring ideals in one dark body, whose dogged strength alone keeps them from being torn asunder”?

K.A.A.: I think that Du Bois’s way of thinking about this, which was informed by 19th- century German social philosophy, can be put like this: Each people, each Volk, has a soul, a Geist, that is the bearer of a folk culture and of what he called spiritual “strivings.” American Negroes were possessed of the soul of America and the soul of the Negro. Since America’s folk culture was racist, they were possessed by a spirit that was, in some respects, hostile to them. The Negro soul gave them the resources for a positive sense of self, which helped to resist this, but it also gave them various other gifts…

…K.A.A.: Well, I should begin by saying that I think that a background of class privilege on both sides of my family has protected both my sisters and me from some of the worst challenges of living in a racist world. (They have also had the advantage of living much of their lives in various parts of Africa!) I was born in London but moved with my family to Ghana when I was 1. My sisters were all born there. When I was an undergraduate at college in England, Skip Gates and I and a Nigerian philosophy student we knew were the only black people in our college. But I had white upper-middle-class high school friends and upper-middle-class English cousins around, so I guess I didn’t feel that there was any question as to my right to be there, and I don’t think anyone else thought so either. (And I wouldn’t have cared if they did!)

As a young person in Ghana, many people I met in my daily life in my hometown knew my family, and knew why I was brown and not black. They knew my mother was an Englishwoman (and white) and my father was Ashanti (and black). And throughout my childhood in Ghana the Asantehene, the king of Ashanti, whose capital was my hometown, was my great-uncle by marriage. (To those who didn’t know me, though, I was a “broni kokoo,” a red [skinned] foreigner; “broni” is often mistranslated these days as “white person.”) So, in a way, the most interesting “problem” for me, having been in America and then an American citizen for much of my adult life (since 1997), has been how to figure out a black identity, having come from two places where my color had a very different significance.

One of the things that I have always been most grateful to this country for is the sense of welcome I have often felt from African-Americans as a person of African descent. There’s no necessity about this: my ancestors — and not so many generations back — were in the business of capturing and selling other black people into the Atlantic slave trade (and some of my mother’s kinfolk back then were no doubt in the business of buying and shipping them). So one thing that race does in the world is bring black people together in spite of these divided histories. But I suppose that the main effect of my being black has been to draw me to black subject matter, black issues, and to give me an interest — in both senses of the term, an intellectual engagement and a stake — in pursuing them. Without this connection to the world of Africa and her diaspora I would just be someone else…

Read the entire article here.

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