Transpacific Mixed-Race Literatures: A Reading and Dialogue (Sawyer Seminar IX)

Posted in Asian Diaspora, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Live Events, Media Archive, United States on 2014-04-04 03:07Z by Steven

Transpacific Mixed-Race Literatures: A Reading and Dialogue (Sawyer Seminar IX)

University of Southern California, University Park Campus
Ronald Tutor Campus Center (TCC)
Room 351/352
Sunday, 2014-04-06, 10:00-17:00 PDT (Local Time)

How do Transpacific mixed-race authors inscribe and represent their heritage in their artistic representations? Are there common tropes or literary forms that inform these novels? What type of analysis might emerge from putting writers in dialogue with critical theorists?

SESSION 1

Brian Castro, Professor and Chair of Creative Writing
University of Adelaide, Australia

Australian novelist of Chinese, Portuguese, and English descent; author of 12 novels including award-winning novels Birds of Passage (1982 Vogel Literary Award), Double-Wolf (1991 Victorian Premier’s Literary Award and Vance Palmer Prize for Fiction), Stepper (1997 National Book Council Prize), Shanghai Dancing (2004 Victoria and New South Wales Premier’s Literary Awards), and The Garden Books (2005 Queensland Premier’s Literary Award).

Marilyne Brun, Lecturer
Université de Lorraine, France

Author of “Literary Doubles and Colonial Subjectivity: Brian Castro’s The Garden Book,” The Journal of Commonwealth and Postcolonial Studies (2012), “Racial Ambiguity and Whiteness in Brian Castro’s Drift,” Journal of the European Association for Studies on Australia (2011), and many other scholarly articles on the writings of Brian Castro.

SESSION 2

Kien Nguyen, Novelist

Novelist of Vietnamese and American heritage. Author of 3 novels: The Unwanted: A Memoir of Childhood (2001), The Tapestries (2002), and Le Colonial (2004).

Isabelle Thuy Pelaud, Associate Professor of Asian American Studies
San Francisco State University

Author of This is All I Choose to Tell: History and Hybridity in Vietnamese American Literature (Temple University Press, 2011).

SESSION 3

Paisley Rekdal, Professor of English
University of Utah

Writer of Chinese American and Norwegian heritage; author of four books of poetry, Crash of Rhinos (2000), Six Girls Without Pants (2002), The Invention of the Kaleidoscope (2007), and Animal Eye (2012), as well as a book of essays, The Night My Mother Met Bruce Lee: Observations on Not Fitting In (2000). Her work has received a Village Voice Writers on the Verge Award, two Pushcart Prizes, and the University of Georgia Press’ Contemporary Poetry Series Award.

Viet Nguyen, Associate Professor of English and American Studies and Ethnicity
University of Southern California

Author of Race and Resistance: Literature and Politics in Asian America (Oxford, 2002).

Presented by the Center for Japanese Religions and Culture’s “Critical Mixed-Race Studies: A Transpacific Approach” Andrew W. Mellon Foundation John E. Sawyer Seminars Series at the University of Southern California.

For more information, click here.

Tags: , , , , , ,

Bung Mokhtar: Mixed-race Malaysians will benefit from racial voting

Posted in Articles, Asian Diaspora, New Media, Oceania, Politics/Public Policy on 2014-04-01 21:59Z by Steven

Bung Mokhtar: Mixed-race Malaysians will benefit from racial voting

Malay Mail Online
Petaling Jaya, Malaysia
2014-04-01

Zurairi AR

UALA LUMPUR, Apr 1 — Malaysians with mixed-race parentage will benefit the most from voting along racial lines as they will have more than one representative, Kinabatangan MP Datuk Bung Mokhtar Radin said today.

The Barisan Nasional (BN) MP also claimed that the system suggested by Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Shahidan Kassim yesterday will ensure justice for every ethnic group in Malaysia.

“For those who may have two or three ancestries, they can choose which one they prefer… They can be in both worlds,” Bung said in Parliament here.

“For me that is really good. At least, for me who has both Sungai and Malay ancestries, I can then get two or three representatives. Now, I can only get one.”

Sungai is the name of one of the many official tribes in Sabah.

Bung also refuted claims that Shahidan’s remarks is alike the now-abolished apartheid regime in South Africa, in which people voted for representatives from their own ethnic communities…

Read the entire article here.

Tags: , , , ,

‘Stretching out the categories’: Chinese/European narratives of mixedness, belonging and home in Singapore

Posted in Articles, Asian Diaspora, New Media, Oceania, Social Science on 2014-03-20 20:45Z by Steven

‘Stretching out the categories’: Chinese/European narratives of mixedness, belonging and home in Singapore

Ethnicities
Volume 14, Number 2 (April 2014)
pages 279-302
DOI: 10.1177/1468796813505554

Zarine L. Rocha, Research Scholar
Department of Sociology
National University of Singapore

Racial categorization is important in everyday interactions and state organization in Singapore. Increasingly, the idea of ‘mixed race’ and new conceptions of mixedness are challenging such classification along racial lines. Although contemporary Singapore is extremely diverse, the underlying ideology of multiracialism remains grounded in distinctly racialized groups, leaving little space for more complex individual identities. This paper explores the identifications of individuals of mixed Chinese and European descent in the Singaporean context, looking at how complexity is lived within firmly racialized structures. Drawing on a series of 20 narrative interviews, this research examines the relationship between categorization and identity, focusing on the identities of individuals with multiple national, cultural and ethnic ties. The practical impacts of racial categorization shape many aspects of life in Singapore, and individuals of mixed descent illustrated a constant tension between official categorization and personal mixedness, seen in the frustrations experienced and strategies developed by individuals around race and belonging. Individuals negotiated their connections around race and nationality both in practical terms around language, social policies and culture, and personally in terms of symbolic feelings of connection.

Read or purchase the article here.

Tags: , , , ,

Global Mixed Race

Posted in Africa, Anthologies, Anthropology, Asian Diaspora, Books, Canada, Caribbean/Latin America, Census/Demographics, Europe, Forthcoming Media, Social Science, United Kingdom, United States on 2014-03-20 15:07Z by Steven

Global Mixed Race

New York University Press
March 2014
357 pages
Cloth ISBN: 9780814770733
Paper ISBN: 9780814789155

Edited by:

Rebecca Chiyoko King-O’Riain, Senior Lecturer
National University of Ireland, Maynooth

Stephen Small, Associate Professor of African American Studies
University of California, Berkeley

Minelle Mahtani, Associate Professor in the Department of Human Geography and the Program in Journalism
University of Toronto, Scarborough

Miri Song, Professor of Sociology
University of Kent

Paul Spickard, Professor of History and Affiliate Professor of Black Studies, Asian American Studies, East Asian Studies, Religious Studies, and the Center for Middle Eastern Studies
University of California, Santa Barbara

Patterns of migration and the forces of globalization have brought the issues of mixed race to the public in far more visible, far more dramatic ways than ever before. Global Mixed Race examines the contemporary experiences of people of mixed descent in nations around the world, moving beyond US borders to explore the dynamics of racial mixing and multiple descent in Zambia, Trinidad and Tobago, Mexico, Brazil, Kazakhstan, Germany, the United Kingdom, Canada, Okinawa, Australia, and New Zealand.  In particular, the volume’s editors ask: how have new global flows of ideas, goods, and people affected the lives and social placements of people of mixed descent?  Thirteen original chapters address the ways mixed-race individuals defy, bolster, speak, and live racial categorization, paying attention to the ways that these experiences help us think through how we see and engage with social differences. The contributors also highlight how mixed-race people can sometimes be used as emblems of multiculturalism, and how these identities are commodified within global capitalism while still considered by some as not pure or inauthentic. A strikingly original study, Global Mixed Race carefully and comprehensively considers the many different meanings of racial mixedness.

Contents

  • Global Mixed Race: An Introduction / Stephen Small and Rebecca C. King-O’Riain
  • Part I: Societies with Established Populations of Mixed Descent
    • 1. Multiraciality and Census Classification in Global Perspective / Ann Morning
    • 2. “Rider of Two Horses”: Eurafricans in Zambia / Juliette Bridgette Milner-Thornton
    • 3. “Split Me in Two”: Gender, Identity, and “Race Mixing” in the Trinidad and Tobago Nation / Rhoda Reddock
    • 4. In the Laboratory of Peoples’ Friendship: Mixed People in Kazakhstan from the Soviet Era to the Present / Saule K. Ualiyeva and Adrienne L. Edgar
    • 5. Competing Narratives: Race and Multiraciality in the Brazilian Racial Order / G. Reginald Daniel and Andrew Michael Lee
    • 6. Antipodean Mixed Race: Australia and New Zealand / Farida Fozdar and Maureen Perkins
    • 7. Negotiating Identity Narratives among Mexico’s Cosmic Race / Christina A. Sue
  • Part II: Places with Newer Populations of Mixed Descent
    • 8. Multiraciality and Migration: Mixed-Race American Okinawans, 1945–1972 / Lily Anne Yumi Welty
    • 9. The Curious Career of the One-Drop Rule: Multiraciality and Membership in Germany Today / Miriam Nandi and Paul Spickard
    • 10. Capturing “Mixed Race” in the Decennial UK Censuses: Are Current Approaches Sustainable in the Age of Globalization and Superdiversity? / Peter J. Aspinall and Miri Song
    • 11. Exporting the Mixed-Race Nation: Mixed-Race Identities in the Canadian Context / Minelle Mahtani, Dani Kwan-Lafond, and Leanne Taylor
  • Global Mixed Race: A Conclusion / Rebecca C. King-O’Riain
  • Bibliography
  • About the Contributors
  • Index
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Are you in an Asian and White American interracial marriage?

Posted in Asian Diaspora, Media Archive, Social Science, United States, Wanted/Research Requests/Call for Papers on 2014-03-13 23:15Z by Steven

Are you in an Asian and White American interracial marriage?

University of California, Berkeley
Center for Race and Gender; Department of Gender and Women’s Study; Department of Sociology
2014-03-13

Louise Ly

Does race and ethnic difference matter in your life?

Hi, my name is Louise Ly. I’m a Ph.D. candidate from the Department of Sociology at the University of California, Berkeley. I’m interested in learning about whether or not racial and ethnic difference matter in the lives of intermarried Chinese- and Indian-Americans and White Americans.

Background

Some scholars of immigration argue that intermarriage signals a lessening of ethnic difference among intermarried partners and groups who then come to be seen as more similar and equal. Does this thesis reflect your experience? Is your experience different?

Interview Details

  • Interviews involve questions about marriage, family, ethnic/racial experiences
  • Take about 1½ to 2 hours
  • Completely confidential, and will take place at a time and place of your choice

Please contact me at louisely@berkeley.edu or (510) 542-9628, if you would like to schedule time an interview or have any questions.

This study is sponsored by UC Berkeley’s Center for Race and Gender, Department of Gender and Women’s Study, and Sociology Department. It is approved by UC Berkeley’s Committee for Protection of Human Subjects.

Tags: ,

The Journal of Critical Mixed Race Studies inaugural issue is now available

Posted in Articles, Asian Diaspora, Book/Video Reviews, Caribbean/Latin America, Communications/Media Studies, History, Latino Studies, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, Mexico, My Articles/Point of View/Activities, Philosophy, Social Science, United States on 2014-03-11 22:18Z by Steven

The Journal of Critical Mixed Race Studies inaugural issue is now available

Journal of Critical Mixed Race Studies
Volume 1, Number 1 (2014-01-30)
ISSN: 2325-4521

Laura Kina, Associate Professor Art, Media and Design and Director Asian American Studies
DePaul University, Chicago, Illinois

G. Reginald Daniel, Professor of Sociology
University of California at Santa Barbaral


Saya Woolfalk, video still from “The Emphathics,” 2012.

The Journal of Critical Mixed Race Studies inaugural issue is now available. Volume 1, No. 1, 2014 “Emerging Paradigms in Critical Mixed Race Studies” It has been a long journey from the publication of Maria Root’s groundbreaking and award-winning anthology Mixed People in America (1992) to the inauguration of the Journal of Critical Mixed Race Studies. We would like to thank all of our contributors, volunteers, and editorial review board for their hard work and patience. We hope you enjoy this issue of the journal and find it an informative resource on the topic of mixed race identities and experiences.

G. Reginald Daniel, Editor in Chief

Laura Kina, Managing Editor

The Journal of Critical Mixed Race Studies (JCMRS) is a peer-reviewed online journal dedicated to Critical Mixed Race Studies (CMRS). Launched in 2011, it is the first academic journal explicitly focused on Critical Mixed Race Studies. Sponsored by UC Santa Barbara’s Sociology Department, JCMRS is hosted on the eScholarship Repository, which is part of the eScholarship initiative of the California Digital Library.

Table of Contents

  • Front Matter
  • Cover Art
  • Table of Contents
  • Editor’s Note / Daniel, G. Reginald
  • Emerging Paradigms in Critical Mixed Race Studies / Daniel, G. Reginald; Kina, Laura; Dariotis, Wei Ming; Fojas, Camilla
  • Appendix A: Publications from 1989 to 2004 / Riley, Steven F.
  • Appendix B: Publications from 2005 to 2013 / Riley, Steven F.

Articles

  • “Historical Origins of the One-Drop Racial Rule in the United States” / Jordan, Winthrop D. (Edited by Spickard, Paul)
  • “Reconsidering the Relationship Between New Mestizaje and New Multiraciality as Mixed-Race Identity Models / Turner, Jessie D.
  • “Critical Mixed Race Studies: New Directions in the Politics of Race and Representation / Jolivétte, Andrew J.
  • “‘Only the News They Want to Print’: Mainstream Media and Critical Mixed-Race Studies” / Spencer, Rainier
  • “The Current State of Multiracial Discourse” / McKibbin, Molly Littlewood
  • “Slimy Subjects and Neoliberal Goods: Obama and the Children of Fanon” / McNeil, Daniel

Book Reviews

  • Stephen Murphy-Shigematsu, When Half Is Whole: Multiethnic Asian Americans Identities / Crawford, Miki Ward
  • Ralina Joseph, Transcending Blackness: From the New Millennium Mulatta to the Exceptional Multiracial / Elam, Michele
  • Greg Carter, The United States of the United Races: A Utopian History of Racial Mixing / Mount, Guy Emerson
  • Rudy P. Guevarra, Jr., Becoming Mexipino: Multiethnic Identities and Communities in San Diego / Schlund-Vials, Cathy J.

About the Contributors

  • About the Contributors
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Interview with upcoming CultureFest Performer Laura Kina

Posted in Articles, Arts, Asian Diaspora, Interviews, Media Archive, United States on 2014-03-11 22:09Z by Steven

Interview with upcoming CultureFest Performer Laura Kina

Multiracial Network Blog
2014-03-07

To start us off, we have an interview from our CultureFest performer Laura Kina! As can also be found on her website (http://www.laurakina.com/) Laura is an artist and scholar who focuses “on the fluidity of cultural difference and the slipperiness of identity”. With subjects ranging from Asian American history to mixed race representation, her work blends autobiography with artwork, breaking down stories and putting them back together. Come see her perform “Hapa Yonsei Uchinanchu” her “talk story” about her Okinawan family history in Hawaii and her multiracial identity while showing images of her recent oil paintings and much more! Check her out at CultureFest on Sunday March 30 from 6-9pm in the Convention Center, as part of CelebrACPA immediately after the opening ceremony.

  1. Where and how do you get your inspiration for your art?
  2. Do you have a favorite piece of art you’ve created? Why?

[I’m going to answer both questions at once below]

My artwork usually starts out with an autobiographical impulse and series of questions and then develops as I gather source materials and do field research. For example, in my current exhibition Blue Hawaiʻi, which is on view through March 27, 2014 at the University of Memphis Fogelman Galleries of Contemporary Art, I initially traveled to Hawaiʻi in 2009 to look at community and family photos and interview elders in my dad’s Pi’ihonua sugarcane plantation community on the Big Island of Hawaiʻi as well as other Nisei (2nd generation) and Sansei (3rd generation) from nearby plantations. I grew up in a small Norwegian town called Poulsbo, WA and aside from my dad and my grandma Kina, I was pretty cut off from this part of my heritage. We’d go back as tourists and grew up eating Spam Musubi but I wanted to learn about the real Hawaiʻi and what it means to be Uchinanchu (Okinawan)…

…4. What was the process of creating, organizing, and implementing the Critical Mixed Race Studies Conference?

I went to this 2008 leadership retreat with my DePaul colleague Camilla Fojas. She had just published her co-edited book Mixed Race Hollywood (NYU Press, 2008) with Mary Beltrán and I was beginning to teach a class called “Mixed Race Art and Identity.” We were doing a workshop activity where you put post-it notes up on a wall with where you see yourself in five years in the multiracial movement and what you want to work on. After everyone had their dreams on the wall, we moved out post-it notes around to align with each other. It was out of this activity and other theater and drawing activities that Camilla Fojas, and Wei Ming Dariotis from San Francisco State University, and I had the very practical idea to work towards legitimizing multiracial studies in an academic context. Our hope was to found an association for critical mixed race studies. We used the word “critical” from “critical race” theory to point towards systems of racialization and used the “mixed race” (with no hyphen) from what was being used at the time (as opposed to “multiracial”) to define the movement. The no hyphen comes from us ditching hyphenated identities in Asian America. I know this is confusing when “mixed-race” is used as a compound modifier! We sat down and hammered out a definition, which we are still using today for Critical Mixed Race Studies:

Critical Mixed Race Studies is the transracial, transdisciplinary, and transnational critical analysis of the institutionalization of social, cultural, and political orders based on dominant conceptions of race. CMRS emphasizes the mutability of race and the porosity of racial boundaries in order to critique processes of racialization and social stratification based on race. CMRS addresses local and global systemic injustices rooted in systems of racialization.

But before we could found an association we figured we should start small by organizing a conference. We sent out a call for papers in 2009 and by the time the inaugural conference “Emerging Paradigms in Critical Mixed Race Studies” took shape in November 2010 we had over 200 paper submissions and 430 people attended. What was unique about this first conference is that it wasn’t a student conference, as most large-scale meetings on multiraciality had been up to this point. It was an academic conference but it also recognized the movements community roots and included arts and community programming and it drew national and international participation. For our subsequent 2012 conference “What is Critical Mixed Race Studies?”, which over 450 people attended, we sought to keep this core spirit but wished to professionalize the process to ensure peer review but to also create a sustainable process for the conference can keep going. Camilla Fojas worked with an external panel of reviewers to select the papers and I partnered with Mixed Roots Stories to organize arts programming. We are doing this again for the Nov 13-15, 2014 conference “Global Mixed Race.”

To read in detail about the history of multiracial studies in the U.S. and the founding of Critical Mixed Race Studies, please read the inaugural issue of the Journal of Critical Mixed Race Studies article “Emerging Paradigms in Critical Mixed Race Studies” by G. Reginald Daniel, Laura Kina, Wei Ming Dariotis, and Camilla Fojas…

Read the entire interview here.

Tags: ,

Dream of the Water Children: Memory and Mourning in the Black Pacific

Posted in Asian Diaspora, Biography, Books, Forthcoming Media, Monographs on 2014-03-08 23:55Z by Steven

Dream of the Water Children: Memory and Mourning in the Black Pacific

2Leaf Press
October 2014
300 pages
Paperback ISBN-13: 978-1-940939-28-5
ePub ISBN-13: 978-1-940939-29-2

Fredrick D. Kakinami Cloyd

Dream of the Water Children, at once a haunting collective memory and a genre-bending critical account of dominance and survival, interweaves intimate multi-family details with global politics spanning generations and continents. Fredrick D. Kakinami Cloyd’s debut work defies categorization as histories and families are intimately connected through sociological ghosts alive in the present. It is a one-of-a-kind ‘non-fiction’ inter-disciplinary evocation that will appeal to not only those interested in Black and Asian relations and mixed-race Amerasian histories, but also a wide general audience including those interested in Asian, Asian-American, Nikkei, African-American, and mixed-race identities as well as multicultural literature, history and post-colonial memoir. Those focused on academic studies such as women and gender studies, ethnic and critical mixed-race studies, social justice curriculum, political histories, memory, feminism, and militarization, etc. will appreciate the profound questions for thought that rise up from the pages. Cloyd’s book not only challenges readers to explore technologies of violence, identity, difference, and our responsibilities to the world, it will also move readers through emotional depths.

Tags: ,

Betwixt, Between and Beyond: Racial formation and “mixed race” identities in New Zealand and Singapore

Posted in Asian Diaspora, Dissertations, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, Oceania, Social Science on 2014-03-08 06:13Z by Steven

Betwixt, Between and Beyond: Racial formation and “mixed race” identities in New Zealand and Singapore

National University of Singapore
2013
345 pages

Zarine Lia Rocha

A THESIS SUBMITTED FOR THE DEGREE OF DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY DEPARTMENT OF SOCIOLOGY

“Mixed race” identities are increasingly important for academics and policy makers around the world. In many multicultural societies, individuals of mixed ancestry are identifying outside of traditional racial categories, posing a challenge to systems of racial classification, and to sociological understandings of race. Singapore and New Zealand illustrate the complex relationship between state categorization and individual identities. Both countries are diverse, with high rates of intermarriage, and a legacy of colonial racial organization. However, New Zealand’s emphasis on voluntary, fluid ethnic identity and Singapore’s fixed four-race framework provide key points of contrast. Each represents the opposite end of the spectrum in addressing “mixed race”: multiple ethnic options have been recognized in New Zealand for several decades, while symbolic recognition is now being implemented in Singapore.

This research explores histories of racial formation in New Zealand and Singapore, focusing on narratives of racial formation. The project examines two simultaneous processes: how individuals of mixed heritage negotiate identities within a racially structured framework, and why—how racial classification has affected this over time. Using a narrative lens, state-level narratives of racial formation are juxtaposed with individual narratives of identity. “Mixedness” is then approached from a different angle, moving away from classifications of identity, towards a characterization of narratives of reinforcement, accommodation, transcendence and subversion.

Drawing on a series of 40 interviews, this research found similarities and differences across the two contexts. In Singapore, against a racialized framework with significant material consequences, top-down changes sought to symbolically acknowledge mixedness, without upsetting the multiracial balance. In New Zealand, state efforts to remove “race” from public discourse allow ethnicity to be understood more flexibly, yet this has not always translated easily to everyday life. For individuals in Singapore, narratives were shaped by a racialized background, as they located themselves within pervasive racial structures. In New Zealand, stories were positioned against a dual narrative of fluidity and racialization, reflected in narratives that embraced ambiguity while referring back to racialized categories.

The four narrative characterizations illustrated the diversity of stories within each context, yet highlighted certain patterns. Narratives of transcendence were present in both countries, illustrating how historical racialization can be rejected. Narratives of accommodation were more common in New Zealand, as the dissonance between public and private understandings of mixedness was less stark. Narratives of reinforcement were more frequently seen in Singapore, mirroring colonial/post-colonial projects of racial formation in which personal stories were located. Narratives of subversion were present in both countries, but were more common in New Zealand, where subversion required less conscious effort.

Overall, this research drew out how identity can diverge from official classification, as individuals worked to navigate difference at an everyday level. State acknowledgements of mixedness served to highlight the continued dissonance between fluid identities and fixed racial categories, as well as the unique balance of racialized choice and constraint in Singapore and in New Zealand. Personal narratives revealed the creative ways in which people crossed boundaries, and the everyday negotiations between classification, heritage, and experience in living mixed identities.

Read the entire dissertation here.

Tags: , , , , ,

The Racial Pecking Order in British Theatre and TV

Posted in Articles, Arts, Asian Diaspora, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, United Kingdom on 2014-03-06 04:44Z by Steven

The Racial Pecking Order in British Theatre and TV

Media Diversified: Tackling the lack of diversity in UK media and the ubiquity of whiteness
2014-02-28

Daniel York

I’ve been reading a book recently by the American sociologist David T. Wellman with the frankly terrifying title Portraits Of White Racism. I say terrifying because it conjures all kinds of images of Aryan skinhead fascists with big boots and arm-bands. I find myself hiding the lurid green cover of the book so people won’t see it when I’m reading it on the tube.

In fact the book isn’t about skinhead fascists at all. Rather its premise is to refute the popular notion that all “racism” is born of ignorant prejudice. Instead Wellman’s subject is

culturally sanctioned strategies for defending social advantage based on race”.

Of course the very word “racism” is now so incendiary it actually seems to have become worse to call someone a racist than actually be one. But leaving aside Wellman’s terminology there is something clearly and fundamentally unequal in UK society and particularly in the industry I work in, that of screen and stage, something that black British actor and playwright Kwame Kwei-Armah recently referred to as “structural inequality” .

The book (written in the 1970’s) features quotes  along the lines of

“I’m not opposed to mixed busing ; I’m opposed to the time it takes” and “I can understand militancy but it’s self-defeating”. My industry is full of these kind of rationalisations:-

Yes, there should be more opportunities for actors/writers of colour. But it won’t happen overnight(Why ever not?)

“There should be more roles for actors of colour. But we need the writers from those communities to write roles for minority ethnic actors” (Well, a) You could commission some and b) Do we have to be from a separate and foreign “community”?)

We definitely need to put more training initiatives in place”

(In other word we’re going to continue side-lining you now whilst we tick our boxes running workshops for people with no experience thereby diminishing your experience and expertise)…

…Ethnic roles are often very clichedly “ethnic” and badly written. They are also cast with a completely different criteria by people who are literally picking exotic flowers for their garden. The number of times I’ve been told “they didn’t think you looked Chinese enough” (I’m of mixed descent) is simply too often to be arbitrary. My agent was once told “we specifically do NOT want any Eurasians”. On the other side of the coin, I’ve seen casting breakdowns calling for African-Caribbean actors requesting they not be “too dark”. In addition we’re often expected to be de facto cultural “experts”, to speak a range of languages and have all manner of physical “skills” at our disposal…

Read he entire article here.

Tags: , ,