‘Hapa-palooza’ Celebrates Canada’s Mixed-Heritage Residents

Posted in Articles, Asian Diaspora, Canada, Media Archive on 2014-09-23 15:06Z by Steven

‘Hapa-palooza’ Celebrates Canada’s Mixed-Heritage Residents

NBC News

Frances Kai-Hwa Wang

Vancouver is gearing up for the Hapa-palooza Festival, the world’s largest celebration of mixed heritage and hybrid identity, to be held at locations throughout the city this month. The word “hapa” usually means a person who is part Asian or Pacific Islander, but festival organizers are taking a much more expansive view to include “mixed heritage and hybrid cultural identity.”

“Growing up there was little to no awareness about the experiences of being mixed,” says festival co-founder Zarah Martz. “Canada prides itself on being a multicultural country, and Hapa-palooza explores the blending of various cultures and backgrounds.”

Read the entire article here.

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Elizabeth Liang finds home: Performance at Williams College ’62 Center

Posted in Articles, Arts, Asian Diaspora, Media Archive, United States on 2014-09-22 17:36Z by Steven

Elizabeth Liang finds home: Performance at Williams College ’62 Center

The Berkshire Eagle
Pittsfield, Massachusetts

Madeline Vuong, Special to Berkshires Week & Shires of Vermont

WILLIAMSTOWN — “Where are you from?”

It’s an easy question on the surface, but a more complicated matter if you’re Elizabeth Liang, a child of mixed-race parentage, who grew up in six different countries — Guatemala, Costa Rica, Panama, Morocco, Egypt and the United States.

“‘Where are you from?’ was a question I got with almost boring regularity,” Liang said.

But as soon as she tried to answer, many people’s eyes glazed over, she said, and they assumed she and they had nothing in common. She learned not to talk about her life experiences.

“I listened instead,” she said.

She didn’t want to sound as though she were bragging, or as though she thought she was more worldly than her peers, she said, because that would isolate her more.

But after a childhood of staying quiet and trying to blend in, Liang decided she needed to talk openly about the experience of growing up internationally, especially as a mixed-race woman. Drawing on her training as a professional actor, she created a solo show, “Alien Citizen,” which she will perform tonight at the ‘62 Center at Williams College.

“[My show is] very personal, from a kid and teen’s perspective of living in these countries,” Liang said: “What it’s like to bike to school in a Cairo suburb, what Christmas in Guatemala is like, what it feels like to get stuck in a sandstorm on the sidewalks of Casablanca. And because I’m a kid and teenager through most of the show, there’s all the first love and crushes, and caring-about-being-cool stuff, too…

Read the entire article here.

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Number of multiracial students on rapid rise

Posted in Articles, Asian Diaspora, Campus Life, Media Archive on 2014-09-22 17:16Z by Steven

Number of multiracial students on rapid rise

The Korean Times

Kim Se-jeong

The number of elementary, middle and high school students from multiracial families soared to a record high of 67,806 as of April, the Ministry of Education said Sunday.

That accounted for 1.07 percent of the 6.33 million total and is the first time the group has surpassed the 1 percent mark, according to the ministry.

It was also a sharp increase from last year’s 55,780 ― the total is projected to reach 100,000 in three years.

Most of the children had Korean fathers and foreign born mothers and the majority of the latter came from China followed by Japan, Vietnam, the Philippines, Thailand and Mongolia. In the case of Vietnam, the number of children almost doubled last year’s total of 6,310…

Read the entire article here.

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Proving Race

Posted in Articles, Asian Diaspora, Autobiography, Media Archive, United States on 2014-09-18 20:09Z by Steven

Proving Race

Ms. Food Queen: Cooking Across Difference
August 2014

Christine Gregory

I am standing in the lobby of a Korean restaurant. In the split second before I’m seated, I make a conscious decision of whether or not to speak Korean. I know that if I do, it will lead to many benefits, tangible and intangible. I will receive better service. The wait staff will smile at me. I will be given special side dishes that are not on the menu, (for which I will not be expected to pay). I will feel welcome.

I know that if I do not speak Korean, I will be given a cordial and obligatory “Hello.” I will be seated and served what I ordered. I will dine and go, like a stranger. They will look at my brown face, and maybe even smile, but they will fail to recognize me as one of their own.

I almost always elect to speak Korean. Given the benefits, the reasons might seem obvious.   But it isn’t for the discounted pedicures, free sodas at the sushi carry out, and – believe it or not –occasional yellow croaker given gratis by the fish monger at the local Korean mart. It’s because I want them to see me. I want them to know that I am Korean. Speaking the language is the way that I prove my identity.

I am black and Korean, but could easily “pass” for Latina, Ethiopian, South Asian, Polynesian, or Indian. Despite my racially ambiguous appearance, I’ve grown quite deft at subtly revealing my identity to other black folks. I effortlessly code switch and drop hints that would lead whomever I am addressing to surmise that, “Yeah, she must be black.” For example, I mention that I attended a historically black college; share a photo of my African American husband; or drop the name of the church that I attend, all excellent sources of proof

Read the entire article here.

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David Palumbo-Liu interviews Ruth Ozeki

Posted in Articles, Asian Diaspora, Interviews, United States, Women on 2014-09-17 21:51Z by Steven

David Palumbo-Liu interviews Ruth Ozeki

Los Angeles Review of Books

David Palumbo-Liu, Louise Hewlett Nixon Professor; Professor of Comparative Literature and English
Stanford University

Where We Are for the Time Being with Ruth Ozeki

Ruth Ozeki is a novelist, filmmaker, and a Zen Buddhist priest. She is the author of three novels: My Year of Meats (1998), All Over Creation (2003), and A Tale for the Time Being (2013). Her website and other web sources portray a diverse and fascinating set of life experiences and a considerable skill set: she worked on cult SF classic Robot Holocaust and has done straightforward commercial film work, started a language school in Japan, worked as a bar hostess there, made award-winning films herself (Body of Correspondence, Halving the Bones), done extensive study of Zen, and worked as a Zen teacher. Among other things.

In 2013 A Tale for the Time Being was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize as well as for a National Book Critics Award; it won the Kitschies Red Tentacle Award for Best Novel, and the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for Fiction. The reviews in the United Kingdom tended to stress that, as The Independent had it, “her novels are witty, intelligent, and passionate.” The reaction of the American press was more boisterous: The Chicago Tribune noted “their shrewd, playful humor, luscious sexiness, and kinetic pizazz.”

Her work is all that, and much more. Her books are deeply involved in issues of science, technology, gender, and attend both to deep history and to the contemporary. They are concerned with our minds and bodies, but even more particularly with our spirit, and with our commitment to the future. I spoke with Ruth Ozeki at Stanford in 2013 and then corresponded with her during the book tour that followed, and am delighted that My Year of Meats was selected as one of the three books all incoming frosh will read at Stanford this autumn. Now in its 11th year, the texts for this year’s Three Books program address the theme of “Science”: Physics for Future Presidents by Richard Muller, My Year of Meats by Ruth Ozeki, and Radioactive: Marie & Pierre Curie: A Tale of Love and Fallout by Lauren Redniss. I cannot think of a better humanistic author to feature for this series.

DAVID PALUMBO-LIU: Ruth Ozeki — thanks for sitting down with me as you return from doing extensive travel and readings of A Tale for the Time Being. You have given a huge number of interviews, so I’d like to make this relatively targeted. First, in all your work you are especially interested in the complex interweaving of narrative voices. This latest work is the one in which your Buddhism shows up the most explicitly. How does a Buddhist sense of Self (or non-Self) work to help shape this novel, especially in terms of constructing your different narrators? Who are these “people”? What kind of character “development” or “intregity” should we find?

RUTH OZEKI: This notion of self (Self?) is a great place to start, and immediately I find myself resisting the capitalization of the word, which in itself is significant. The capital S seems to imply a fixed and singular entity, a God-like Self, whereas my sense of self is a more shifting (shifty?) and pluralistic entity, an interdependent collectivity of lowercase gods, demigods, and demons…

…Even in My Year of Meats, my first novel, I was playing with fictionalized autobiography. One of the narrators of that book, Jane, is a mixed-race documentary filmmaker who lives in New York. I, too, am a mixed-race documentary filmmaker who lived in New York. I knew readers would assume that Jane equaled Ruth, so I made Jane six feet tall and dyed her hair green, so readers could tell us apart.

I bring this up because I think my mixed-race identity is why I experience myself, and the world, pluralistically. I’m a racially hybridized, genetically pluralistic entity, who has never lived in any one place or culture. As Jane says, “being half, I’m neither here nor there.” Or maybe that was me who said that.

Anyway, I certainly don’t think I’m unique in this regard. All of us are racially, religiously, and/or culturally pluralistic, and increasingly so. As human beings, we’re all trying to integrate and make sense of our pluralistic elements, aren’t we? To find some kind of wholeness?…

Read the entire interview here.

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From Harlem to Shenzhen: One Jamaican-Chinese Woman’s Quest to Find Her Family

Posted in Articles, Asian Diaspora, Caribbean/Latin America, History, Media Archive, United States on 2014-09-16 21:29Z by Steven

From Harlem to Shenzhen: One Jamaican-Chinese Woman’s Quest to Find Her Family

The Wall Street Journal

Debra Bruno

Growing up in New York’s Harlem, Paula Williams Madison knew she had a Chinese grandfather, even though she had never met him.

When people found out, she says, most of them would make comments such as “Really? You don’t look Chinese.” Others would laugh. Even so, she always intended to track down her mother’s father and learn the full story of her multi-ethnic Jamaican-Chinese family.

By the time she found them, her tiny American family had expanded to about 400 living members and a family tree that goes back 3,000 years. A new documentary tells the story of that journey and the discovery of a family that today extends from Shenzhen, China, to Kingston, Jamaica, and Los Angeles, California.

Ms. Madison, 62, spent much of her career at NBC, and retired a few years ago as an executive at NBC Universal, one of the first black women to achieve that rank. She says she waited until retiring to pursue her dream of reconnecting with her Chinese family.

Before, “I did know a handful of my cousins,” she says. “Now there are about 40.”

Finding Samuel Lowe: From Harlem to China,” directed by Jeanette Kong of Toronto, a fellow Chinese-Jamaican, tells the story of Ms. Madison’s quest. After slavery ended in Jamaica in 1838, the country sought immigrants to do the work slaves had performed on sugar plantations. By 1920, 4,000 of those immigrants were Chinese. Ms. Madison’s grandfather—a Hakka Chinese man from Guangdong province originally named Lowe Ding Chiu—was one of them, moving there in 1905 at age 15…

Read the entire article here.

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Juxta: A film by Hiroko Yamazaki

Posted in Asian Diaspora, Media Archive, United States, Videos, Women on 2014-09-15 00:57Z by Steven

Juxta: A film by Hiroko Yamazaki

Women Make Movies
29 minutes
BW, 16mm/DVD
Order No. W99356

Hiroko Yamazaki

This beautiful drama observes the psychological effects of racism on two children of Japanese women and American servicemen. Thirty-one year old Kate, the daughter of a Japanese/white mixed marriage visits her childhood friend, Ted, a Japanese-Black American. Together they confront the memory of her mother’s tragic story in this telling, emotionally nuanced journey into the complexity of US racism.

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One drop or two: Mixed-race identity and politics in America with Sharon H. Chang

Posted in Asian Diaspora, Audio, Identity Development/Psychology, Interviews, Media Archive, Social Science, United States on 2014-09-10 18:10Z by Steven

One drop or two: Mixed-race identity and politics in America with Sharon H. Chang

Rabble Podcast Network

Charlene Sayo, Co-host

Andrew Sayo, Co-host

Eirene Cloma, Co-host

When Seattle-based researcher and writer Sharon H. Chang wrote an essay that detailed why she tells her mixed-race son that he’s Asian and not white, many readers were surprised —some were downright offended—that she would deny him his “whiteness.” These reactions led Sharon—who herself is mixed-race—to write a follow-up essay aptly titled “Why Mixed with White isn’t White.” Naturally, I had to feature her on MsRepresent: Behind the Face, a Fierce Woman. For this episode, Sharon tackles race, racism, mixed-race identity and the dangers of assuming white privilege when you look anything but.

Listen to interview (00:31:07) here. Download the interview here.

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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 2014-09-10 16:23Z by Steven

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

Paradigm Publishers
June 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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Chinese culture fails to make the grade for today’s mixed-race children

Posted in Anthropology, Articles, Asian Diaspora, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, Social Science on 2014-09-09 20:14Z by Steven

Chinese culture fails to make the grade for today’s mixed-race children

South China Morning Post
Hong Kong, China

Lijia Zhang, Writer, Journalist, Social Commentator

Lijia Zhang recounts her struggle to instill pride and love of all things Chinese in her daughters

May, my 17-year-old elder daughter, told me the results of her school exams by phone. When there was a pause, she asked: “Are you disappointed?” I shouldn’t have been. Three As and a B were good results.

But the problem was that she got the B in Chinese. And she is half Chinese.

I see it partly as my fault in failing to speak Chinese consistently at home, at least for the time May and her younger sister, Kirsty, spend at my house. The truth is that she’s really interested in the language and, indeed, the Chinese part of her cultural heritage.

A few years back, I took the girls to Bangladesh for a holiday. As soon as we were out of my friend’s guarded complex, we were surrounded by curious locals.

“Where are you from?” they asked the girls. May, the spokeswoman of the two, replied without hesitation: “We are from England.”

After we had settled down in a rickshaw, I said to May: “You were born in Beijing. Save for four years in London, you grew up in China. How does it qualify you as ‘English’?” May blinked her big round eyes. “Well, if I tell people I am Chinese, they wouldn’t believe me.”

True, May doesn’t look very Chinese, with her fair skin and brown hair, especially the way she carries herself. Kirsty, who has a darker complexion and more delicate facial features, looks a little more oriental.

Yet they both fundamentally identify themselves as British, even though they do sometimes describe themselves as “half Chinese and half British”…

Read the entire article here.

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