Skin deep

Posted in Articles, Asian Diaspora, Autobiography, Media Archive, United States on 2016-12-08 03:23Z by Steven

Skin deep

North By Northwestern
Fall 2016

Mira Wang


Photo by Alex Furuya / North by Northwestern

Cracking the foundations of white beauty.

When I was younger, my Asian American friends and I would play house. We’d be older, popular and wise to the world. We’d have cars and phones and play dates at the mall. We had freedom there. I could be anyone.

I could even be white.

“Jordan,” my most-loved pretend character, had brunette-not-black, wavy-not-straight hair. She didn’t wear glasses. She played some white-dominated sport like volleyball and went to the mall whenever she wanted. All the boys wanted to date her – even the white boys. She was “American,” as my parents would say. She looked like she belonged.

I didn’t. I can tell stories about being paired automatically with the only other Asian boy in my classes, about “chink!” being screamed through an open car window as my sister and I walked home from school, about avoiding one of the only other Asian girls in my sixth grade class because the bullies were after her, for being too Asian, too quiet.

Instead, I’ll tell what I learned. People treat me differently because of how I look. White beauty norms are narrowly defined: My eyes are too small, and my hair too black, for white people to count as theirs. This means that I am “Asian” – I am labeled, and everything else they know about me will be in the context of that one racial signifier. It means people will meet me and think “Asian,” quiet, boring, studious – or even just “Asian,” chink. It means I am either only beautiful enough for Asian boys, or only beautiful because I am Asian…

Read the entire article here.

Tags: ,

Seminar: Ideals of Miscegenation: Ethnicity, Sexuality, and the Chinese Ideology of “Region”

Posted in Anthropology, Asian Diaspora, Forthcoming Media, Live Events, Religion on 2016-12-03 22:56Z by Steven

Seminar: Ideals of Miscegenation: Ethnicity, Sexuality, and the Chinese Ideology of “Region”

University of Sydney
Old Teachers College
Room 310
Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
2016-12-05, 14:00-15:30 AEDT (Local Time)

Ha Guangtian, Postdoctoral Research Fellow
SOAS China Institute, London, United Kingdom

While the word “miscegenation” normally carries a strongly negative connotation in the history of Western racial politics, in this talk, I use the word to describe an emergent political ideology in China that taps into the underlying assumption of one of the most essential state institutions in the governance of China’s ethnic minorities, namely, ethnic regional autonomy. Two aspects of this assumption will be the focus of my talk: its alleged facilitation of inter-ethnic and cross-cultural economic exchange and commercial flow on the one hand, and its often unspoken yet ever present intention in “consummating” this political economic arrangement with a correlated sexual arrangement, typified by inter-ethnic marriage, on the other. Rather than speaking merely at the general level, however, I choose to examine the ramifications and metamorphosis of this ideology among the elite Hui Muslim intellectuals, a group that include both university professors, think-tank researchers, and government officials. The Hui elites have been among the most enthusiastic proponents of this ideology, due particularly to their understanding of who the Hui are and how they came into being as an ethnic group. This historical presumption receives a new meaning under the “One Belt One Road” initiate. The presumptively “miscegenous” ethno-origin of the Hui is seen to offer them a critical edge in fostering a cross-cultural and cross-ethno-national perspective. This perspective, moreover, fits into a general ideology centred on a certain conception of “region” that is being formulated across different academic disciplines and political discourses in contemporary China. In many respects, this not only raises new issues of political re-alignment – or predictions of a new “great game” – in Eurasia, but also poses new challenges for theoretical critique. For the old criticism of racial, cultural, or ethnic essentialism, dear to leftist intellectuals in the 1980s and 1990s, is barely sufficient to address this new change – if anything, it plays right into its hands. By taking the Hui as an example, this talk tries to respond to this challenge at the level both of theory and of politics.

For more information, click here.

Tags: , , ,

A young playwright’s quest to ask difficult questions about race, class and gender

Posted in Articles, Arts, Asian Diaspora, Autobiography, Media Archive, United States on 2016-12-03 03:07Z by Steven

A young playwright’s quest to ask difficult questions about race, class and gender

The Los Angeles Times
2016-12-02

Margaret Gray

Leah Nanako Winkler’s new play “Kentucky” is a comedy about a Japanese American woman raised in the South. Like her protagonist Hiro, Winkler is half-Japanese and grew up in Kentucky. Like Hiro, she left  for New York and didn’t return for years. And like Hiro, Winkler found her sister’s embrace of evangelical Christianity puzzling and alarming.

“It was like she’d joined a cult,” recalls Winkler, who clarifies that she wasn’t entirely like the Hiro of her play.

“I didn’t actually try to stop my sister’s wedding,” she says with a laugh.

Speaking from the dressing room at East West Players’ theater in downtown L.A., where the West Coast premiere of “Kentucky” runs through Dec. 11, Winkler says the new work is “circumstantially autobiographical.”…

…Born in Japan, Winkler spent some of her childhood there before moving to Kentucky. She won’t say how old she was at the time. “I don’t like to answer that question because there’s a lot of judgment placed on that,” she says. “There’s a big difference if I say 2 or if I say 12. People like to peg you on how Japanese or how American you are, when you’re mixed race.”

She will say that she was old enough to experience “a double identity crisis.”

“In Japan I was a child model because of my Western looks,” she says. “I was considered gaijin, which means foreigner. But in America I was the girl from Japan.”…

Read the entire article here.

Tags: , , , ,

A Picture of Her ‘Kentucky’ Home

Posted in Articles, Arts, Asian Diaspora, Autobiography, Media Archive, United States on 2016-12-03 02:58Z by Steven

A Picture of Her ‘Kentucky’ Home

The Rafu Shimpo: Los Angeles Japanese Daily News
2016-11-27

Mikey Hirano Culross


Leah Nanako Winkler was born in Japan, raised in Lexington, Kentucky, and now lives in New York City.

Leah Nanako Winkler arrived more than flustered, bounding into a dressing room at East West Players after having endured what should have been a 20-minute trek from Universal City to Little Tokyo.

Ms. Winkler, meet the 101.

The evening’s performance of her new play, “Kentucky,” was barely 90 minutes from curtain, and Winkler had plenty of tasks beforehand, including a quick chat with The Rafu.

Now a hard-studying MFA student in Brooklyn, Winkler has composed an honest look at family, with all its glory as well as warts, drawing on her experiences growing up in Lexington, Kentucky.

Her play follows Hiro, a woman on the verge of big-city career success whose homecoming is driven by the desire to dissuade her born-again sister from entering into a marriage that Hiro finds unsavory. Dealing with her family’s southern leanings, her own misgivings and a talking cat, Hiro’s mission is derailed into a completely unplanned direction.

“For me it was important to see a mixed-race family on stage and not seen through rose-colored glasses, that they have their faults, that they’re not perfect,” Winkler explained…

Read the entire article here.

Tags: , , , , ,

Hapa Capsulizes Painful Moments from 2016 Asian America in Less than 90 Seconds

Posted in Articles, Arts, Asian Diaspora, Communications/Media Studies, Media Archive, United States, Videos on 2016-11-27 22:39Z by Steven

Hapa Capsulizes Painful Moments from 2016 Asian America in Less than 90 Seconds

AsAmNews
2016-11-27

Louis Chan, AsAmNews National Correspondent

A popular new video out less than a week freezes in time moments in 2016 that highlight the racism and the persistent whitewashing the Asian American community faced throughout the year.

The short A-woke is from multiracial filmmaker Teja Arboleda who grew up in Japan and now lives near Boston.

Arboleda utilizes the trendy mannequin challenge technique of employing actors who pose frozen like mennequins to depict memorable, and in this film, painful scenes from the past…

Read the entire article here.

Tags: , ,

Redefining Japaneseness: Japanese Americans in the Ancestral Homeland

Posted in Asian Diaspora, Books, Forthcoming Media, Monographs, Social Science, United States on 2016-11-27 15:28Z by Steven

Redefining Japaneseness: Japanese Americans in the Ancestral Homeland

Rutgers University Press
January 2017
224 pages
6 x 9
Cloth ISBN: 978-0-8135-7637-4
Paper ISBN: 978-0-8135-7636-7
Web PDF ISBN: 978-0-8135-7639-8
ePub ISBN: 978-0-8135-7638-1

Jane H. Yamashiro, Visiting Scholar
Asian American Studies Center
University of California, Los Angeles

There is a rich body of literature on the experience of Japanese immigrants in the United States, and there are also numerous accounts of the cultural dislocation felt by American expats in Japan. But what happens when Japanese Americans, born and raised in the United States, are the ones living abroad in Japan?

Redefining Japaneseness chronicles how Japanese American migrants to Japan navigate and complicate the categories of Japanese and “foreigner.” Drawing from extensive interviews and fieldwork in the Tokyo area, Jane H. Yamashiro tracks the multiple ways these migrants strategically negotiate and interpret their daily interactions. Following a diverse group of subjects—some of only Japanese ancestry and others of mixed heritage, some fluent in Japanese and others struggling with the language, some from Hawaii and others from the US continent—her study reveals wide variations in how Japanese Americans perceive both Japaneseness and Americanness.

Making an important contribution to both Asian American studies and scholarship on transnational migration, Redefining Japaneseness critically interrogates the common assumption that people of Japanese ancestry identify as members of a global diaspora. Furthermore, through its close examination of subjects who migrate from one highly-industrialized nation to another, it dramatically expands our picture of the migrant experience.

Table Of Contents

  • Preface
  • Acknowledgments
  • Note on Terminology
  • 1. Introduction
  • 2. Japanese as a Global Ancestral Group: Japaneseness on the US Continent, Hawaii, and Japan
  • 3. Differentiated Japanese American Identities: The Continent Versus Hawaii
  • 4. From Hapa to Hafu: Mixed Japanese American Identities in Japan
  • 5. Language and Names in Shifting Assertions of Japaneseness
  • 6. Back in the United States: Japanese American Interpretations of Their Experiences in Japan
  • Conclusion
  • Appendix A: Methodology: Studying Japanese American Experiences in Tokyo
  • Appendix B: List of Japanese American Interviewees Who Have Lived in Japan
  • Notes
  • Glossary
  • Bibliography
  • Index
Tags: , , , , , ,

Anglo-Indians and Minority Politics in South Asia: Race, Boundary Making and Communal Nationalism

Posted in Asian Diaspora, Books, Forthcoming Media, History, Monographs, Politics/Public Policy on 2016-11-27 15:24Z by Steven

Anglo-Indians and Minority Politics in South Asia: Race, Boundary Making and Communal Nationalism

Routledge
2017-05-31
256 pages
Hardback ISBN: 9781138847224

Uther Charlton-Stevens, Associate Professor
Institute of World Economy and Finance
Volgograd State University, Russia

Anglo-Indians are a mixed-race, Christian and Anglophone minority community which arose in India during the long period of European colonialism. An often neglected part of the British ‘Raj’, their presence complicates the traditional binary through which British imperialism in South Asia is viewed – of ruler and ruled, coloniser and colonised. This book looks at how Anglo-Indians illuminate the history of minority politics in the transition from British colonial rule in South Asia to independence.

The book analyses how the provisions in the Indian Constitution relating to Anglo-Indian cultural, linguistic and religious autonomy were implemented in the years following 1950. It discusses how effective the measures designed to protect Anglo-Indian employment by the state and Anglo-Indian educational institutions under the pressures of Indian national politics were. Presenting an in-depth account of this minority community in South Asia, this book will be of interest to those studying South Asian History, Colonial History and South Asian Politics.

Table of Contents

  • Introduction
  • 1. East Indians
  • 2. The ‘Eurasian Problem’
  • 3. Becoming Anglo-Indians
  • 4. Making a Minority
  • 5. Escapisms of Empire
  • 6. Constituting the Nation
  • 7. Conclusion
Tags: , , , ,

Biracial Identity Development: A Case of Black-Korean Biracial Individuals in Korea

Posted in Articles, Asian Diaspora, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive on 2016-11-26 22:23Z by Steven

Biracial Identity Development: A Case of Black-Korean Biracial Individuals in Korea

International Journal Multicultural Education
Volume 18, Number 3 (2016)
pages 40-57
DOI: 10.18251/ijme.v18i3.1193

Hyein Amber Kim, Lecturer in Korean Language
University of Washington

This study examines two cases of Black-Korean biracial individuals and 4 Black-Korean biracial public figures who were playing influential roles in South Korea (Yoon Mi-Rae, Hines Ward, Insooni, and Moon Taejong). The purpose of this study was to understand how Black-Korean biracial individuals construct their identities, how they navigate various identity options, and how they understand experiences they have in South Korea that are significant to their identity development. This study raises a number of issues in the Korean context where the ideology of a “pureblood” Korean race still prevails, and biracial Koreans continue to face implications of racism and colorism.

Read the entire article here.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Tall, pale and handsome: why more Asian men are using skin-whitening products

Posted in Anthropology, Articles, Asian Diaspora, Media Archive on 2016-11-25 22:50Z by Steven

Tall, pale and handsome: why more Asian men are using skin-whitening products

The Conversation
2016-11-24

Gideon Lasco, Ph.D. Candidate in Medical Anthropology
Amsterdam Institute for Social Science Research (AISSR)
University of Amsterdam

Jose, 19, is a college student in Puerto Princesa City, Philippines.

On a regular school day, after he wakes up, he takes a shower, scrubbing his body using soap made of papaya (Carica papaya), a fruit that’s said to have skin-whitening properties. Afterwards, he applies a facial whitening lotion, and before finally going to school he uses SPF 30 sunscreen, again with whitening properties, on his face and arms.

Jose was one of many young people I met in my ethnographic work as part of the Chemical Youth Project, a research programme that sought to document and make sense of the different chemicals that young people use in their everyday lives, from cosmetics to cigarettes.

Skin whitening among women has long been commonplace in the Philippines and other parts of Asia and the world but, while working on this project, I was struck by the fact that young men too, are using a plethora of whitening products. And that these products have proliferated in various retail outlets, from shopping malls to small sari-sari, or neighbourhood, stores.

But this development is not unique to the Philippines either. A 2015 study found that the prevalence of skin-whitening product use among male university students in 26 low and middle-income countries was 16.7%. The figure was higher in many Asian countries: 17.4% in India, 25.4% in the Philippines, and 69.5% in Thailand.

In the Asia-Pacific region alone, the male cosmetics industry was estimated at $2.1 billion in 2016. Whiteners are likely to be a significant component of this figure; a 2010 study reported that 61% of all cosmetics in India had a whitening effect…

Read the entire article here.

Tags: , , , , ,

Loop of Jade: Sarah Howe visits Manchester Literature Festival

Posted in Articles, Asian Diaspora, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, United Kingdom on 2016-11-24 01:58Z by Steven

Loop of Jade: Sarah Howe visits Manchester Literature Festival

Humanity Hallows
2016-11-04

Leigh Jones

2015 T.S. Eliot prize winner and author of A Certain Chinese Encyclopaedia, Sarah Howe made an appearance at the Manchester Literature Festival recently to discuss her novel Loop of Jade. Within her work, Howe takes her audience on a personal journey through her English-Chinese background, exploring, as the book’s blurb describes, both ‘migration and inheritance’. The novel contains many forms of writing, including poetry, narrative, free verse and short prose, all providing an insight into cultural upbringing and the journey to discover one’s place within society.

At the event, Howe read from her work. Opening with ‘Sirens’, inspired by Theodore Roethke’s ‘Elegy for Jane’, Howe showed how she became fascinated with the key word ‘pickerel’ from which she created a poem illustrating the true meaning of literature and how the perceptions of words continuously develop overtime. Howe emphasised the differences human beings share through literature and how it has encouraged us to think. She described her piece as, “very real and determinative”, as it does not seek to provide an answer but, more so, to enhance ideas…

Read the entire article here.

Tags: , ,