Gorgeous Black-And-White Portraits Explore The Meaning Of Multiracial Identities

Posted in Articles, Arts, Asian Diaspora, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, United States on 2015-04-01 01:35Z by Steven

Gorgeous Black-And-White Portraits Explore The Meaning Of Multiracial Identities

The Huffington Post
2015-03-30

Katherine Brooks, Senior Arts & Culture Editor

“I began this project because I recognized that I was part of a underrepresented group of people,” artist Samantha Wall explained in an email to HuffPost. “It’s difficult to talk about multiraciality with individuals who can’t understand our perspective. It’s not as simple as being part this and part that, our identities can’t be so easily divided. But art is a language that lends itself to communicating experiences too difficult to comprehend through words alone.”

For her project “Indivisible,” Wall explores the meaning of multiracial identities in Korea and the United States through a series of black-and-white portraits. The images show models staring fearlessly at the viewer, flashing a smile, a laugh and sometimes even a grimace. Wall’s charcoal and ink illustrations attempt to convey, as she notes, a feeling that words cannot. “Through this work I am exposing the plurality of emotions that sculpt human subjectivity,” she writes on her website. “The drawings of these women are portals into the human psyche, a place where emotions call out and perceived racial boundaries dissolve.”…

Read the entire article here

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Redefining — by not defining — biracialism

Posted in Articles, Asian Diaspora, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, United States on 2015-04-01 01:02Z by Steven

Redefining — by not defining — biracialism

The Daily Illini: The independent student newspaper at the University of Illinois since 1871
Tuesday, 2015-03-31

Audrey Majors, Opinions columnist

Last week controversy arose over Japan’s 2015 Miss Universe contestant, Ariana Miyamoto, because she’s biracial— something critics, many of whom are Japanese, have taken issue with. Miyamoto has an African-American father and does not look like what most people imagine a traditional Japanese woman to look like.

As several news outlets have pointed out, Miyamoto speaks Japanese, lived most of her childhood in Japan and has a Japanese mother. Much of the discussion in defense of Miyamoto has consisted of the idea that these qualities make her Japanese, despite her biracial status. While I applaud the well-intentioned support for Miyamoto’s chosen racial identity, any legitimation of her race is unneeded because each person should be the sole authority of their racial identity.

I firmly believe no one should have to defend their chosen racial identity. And it sure as hell isn’t okay for anyone to police or undermine the racial identity someone has chosen. Even though the United States is more racially diverse than Japan, this type of exclusion exists here, too. And it will continue to exist everywhere until we change the way we think about racial categories and stereotypes…

…Racial identity is not merely a matter of appearance or genetics, but is one factor combined with social and cultural experiences that have shaped each person’s racial experience. Policing how multiracial people chose to identify neglects our right to understand the experiences that we feel best reflect ourselves…

Read the entire article here.

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Rivas awarded NEH Summer Stipends award to work on book

Posted in Articles, Asian Diaspora, Brazil, Caribbean/Latin America, Media Archive, United States on 2015-03-30 14:52Z by Steven

Rivas awarded NEH Summer Stipends award to work on book

News From Marshall University
Huntington, West Virginia
2015-03-25

Dave Wellman, Director of Communications
Telephone: (304) 696-7153

HUNTINGTON, W.Va.Dr. Zelideth Maria Rivas, an assistant professor of Japanese in Marshall University’s Department of Modern Languages, has been awarded a “very competitive” National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) Summer Stipends award, according to Dr. R.B. Bookwalter, dean of the university’s College of Liberal Arts.

Rivas is the only recipient of the Summer Stipend award in West Virginia. The award will help her work toward completion of a book she has titled “Caught In-Between: Competing Nationalisms of Japanese in Brazil.”

“Dr. Rivas is an energetic and imaginative teacher and scholar,” Bookwalter said. “We are very fortunate to have her here at Marshall and we are extremely pleased that the NEH has recognized and supported her project.”

Rivas said, “I am honored that this award will support the completion of my book through travel to Japan and time to revise existing chapters. More importantly, I am excited for the recognition this brings to the Department of Modern Languages, the College of Liberal Arts and Marshall University.”

Here is her abstract for the project:

“From the streets of Sao Paulo, Brazil, to Hamamatsu, Japan, a large diasporic population of Japanese Brazilians is ever present in media, politics and the economy as symbols of kinship and citizenship with singular national identities. And yet, these identities move beyond dualistic constructions of Japanese or Brazilian. As an NEH Summer Stipend Fellow, I will investigate these claims in my book, Caught In-Between: Competing Nationalisms of Japanese in Brazil while completing the final research needed in Japan during the summer of 2015.

Read the entire press release 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 2015-03-29 20:26Z 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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Meet Elizabeth Liang from Alien Citizen: An Earth Odyssey

Posted in Articles, Arts, Asian Diaspora, Autobiography, Interviews, Media Archive on 2015-03-24 00:47Z by Steven

Meet Elizabeth Liang from Alien Citizen: An Earth Odyssey

Culture Shock Toolbox
2015-03-23

H. E. Rybol

Elizabeth acts on stage, film, and television. A graduate of Wesleyan (after transferring from Wellesley), she is a published essayist (“Checked Baggage: Writing Unpacked,” “Transforming Three Sisters”) and has a column about creative adult TCKs at TheDisplacedNation.com. She is also the co-host of the intercultural podcast Hapa Happy Hour.

Her solo show, ALIEN CITIZEN: An Earth Odyssey, had its world premiere at the Asylum Lab in Hollywood in May 2013. It had its Off Off Broadway debut at Stage Left Studio in September 2013. Since then it has been performed at Princeton, M.I.T., Wesleyan, Williams, Augustana (SD), Carleton, and Santa Clara University in the USA. It was the closing keynote at the Families in Global Transition (FIGT) 2014 conference. It also began its tour of international schools and US Embassies in Panama; was sponsored by the API Cultural Center at the United States of Asian America Festival in San Francisco; and had its international theatrical debut at Tjarnarbíó in Reykjavík, Iceland.

How did you get into traveling?

My dad worked for Xerox (they made photocopiers) back when they were as big as Apple and Google are now, and they moved us from Guatemala to Costa Rica to the USA to Panama to the USA again to Morocco to Egypt. Some of my happiest memories from my youth are of the family vacations we were so fortunate to take in different countries.

I came back to the USA for college on the east coast, graduated and moved to the west coast for a career in the entertainment industry, and have been here ever since. I love to travel for pleasure, and I love to travel with my solo show, ALIEN CITIZEN: An Earth Odyssey, because I get to combine my three favorite activities: acting, traveling to new places, and indirectly: writing (I wrote the script)…

Read the entire interview here.

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Navigating Through my Tamil-Filipino World: An Account of a Mixed First Generation Kid

Posted in Articles, Asian Diaspora, Autobiography, Canada, Media Archive on 2015-03-24 00:25Z by Steven

Navigating Through my Tamil-Filipino World: An Account of a Mixed First Generation Kid

Tamil Culture
2014-01-30

Shanelle Kandiah

Throughout my life, every time I have come to meet someone for the first time, I seem to always be asked about my ethnicity. Over the course of a conversation with someone, I can even anticipate the exact point that this question will be asked. The curious yet reluctant segway of “so…what’s your background?” or “where are your parents from?” gives it all away.

While these questions may be perceived as bothersome to other mixed kids, I cannot say that it ever really bothered me. I have always taken a strange sort of pride in describing my family. Having been raised by a Sri Lankan Tamil father and a Filipino mother, I have never seen my life as anything short of amazing. Growing up exposed to two rich cultures from two loving parents is something that is pretty difficult to fault.

Reflecting back on my childhood, there are certain memories that stand out as reflective of how unique my family may be perceived to the outside world. For instance, there were times growing up where my parents would host birthday parties for my brother and me, and would invite what seemed like everyone they had ever met in their lives. People of all shapes and sizes – not only Tamils and Filipinos, but Anglos, East Asians, and other mixed families – would always manage to seep into my house where they would be welcomed with open arms.

Our food at these events was often a mix of Sri Lankan catering with overwhelming amounts of pittu, hoppers and varying curries, alongside Filipino takeout trays of lumpia, chicken adobo and pansit. When coupled with the Tamil movie scores and Western music playing in the background, I would agree with outsiders who have deemed my family as not quite run of the mill. Even now, it seems overwhelming that so much cultural transactions occurred at these gatherings. Looking back, these times actually gave me some of my best childhood memories…

Read the entire article here.

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Miss Universe Japan — spectacle, race, and dreams

Posted in Articles, Arts, Asian Diaspora, Media Archive on 2015-03-22 01:34Z by Steven

Miss Universe Japan — spectacle, race, and dreams

Grits and Sushi: my musings on okinawa, race, militarization, and blackness
2015-03-19

Mitzi Uehara Carter

The newly crowned Miss Universe Japan is Blackanese. No, she’s Japanese. No, she’s Haafu. Multiracial? Mixed? Japanese enough to represent Japan in a silly beauty contest? Ariana Miyamoto is from Nagasaki, Japan and her win has whipped up both excitement and disdain. The issue of representation has emerged yet again for those anxious about the nation’s performance on the global beauty stage. National beauty pageants are always a site where race and gender intersect in messy ways and the spectacle of “national authentic beauty” in international pageants can be even more convoluted. Miyamoto’s racial difference has sparked a series of interesting questions about how to identify “Japaneseness” through the body of women.

Weather you’re a pageant supporter or not, you can’t ignore how potent the social commentary these kinds of wins can be in everyday discourse. A careful analysis can tell us more about the framing of race in mainstream Japanese and transnational media circuits. While people outside Japan seem to be generally fascinated by the fact that this Japanese woman with her obvious African ancestry has been named “Ms. Universe Japan,” the commentary in Japanese social media is a bit more varied and well, echoes some made in the US, when a New Yorker of Indian descent, Nina Davaluri, won the Ms. America pageant in 2013…

Read the entire article here.

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“What Are You?” That’s None of Your Business

Posted in Articles, Asian Diaspora, Family/Parenting, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, United States on 2015-03-20 19:25Z by Steven

“What Are You?” That’s None of Your Business

Multiracial Asian Families
2015-03-20

Sharon H. Chang

A couple months ago I got cornered big time by a stranger and their “What are you?” mind-meld. The unsolicited probing went on for a while. Honestly something I’m used to. But this time was crazy multidimensional and unique in a way I don’t know I’ve ever experienced. It involved not only me, but my child, and then HER mixed children by comparison. This stranger just couldn’t resist wanting to know my and my son’s specific mixes, explained her husband was “American,” then wondered out loud if her son would one day look like my son and if her daughter would one day look like me. I was declared white-looking while my son was judged Asian-looking. A picture of her own children was then shown proudly with seeming expectation for praise (which I uncomfortably indulged). There was also some lecturing/instruction on how I should feel about my particular Asian heritage (which she shares) and why I should be able to afford visiting my paternal homeland (which I actually can’t). Finally, because she felt this exchange had laid the groundwork for connectivity, she asked to exchange info and wanted to set up a play date.

First let’s be clear. I don’t doubt the well-meaning and friendly intention of this stranger. I understand that my son and I were visually assessed as having something in common with her which could potentially be the beginning of shared interest. I understand this stranger probably felt her comments were sincere, genuine, even complimentary, and that we would receive them as kind, welcoming and affirming. But here is an important racial truth — there’s a big difference between intention versus impact in inter-race relations. Much of what was said in this exchange was actually incredibly egocentric, driven centrally by one person’s self-interested compulsion (I-need-to-know-I-have-to-know) and seemingly little to no consideration for how my son and I might feel like zoo animals…

Read the entire artricle here.

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The First Multiracial Miss Universe Japan Has Been Crowned

Posted in Articles, Arts, Asian Diaspora, Media Archive on 2015-03-18 21:31Z by Steven

The First Multiracial Miss Universe Japan Has Been Crowned

NBC News
2015-03-17

Frances Kai-Hwa Wang

The stunning Miss Nagasaki, Ariana Miyamoto, is the first multiracial contestant ever to be crowned Miss Universe Japan and will represent Japan in the 2015 Miss Universe pageant.

Born in Japan to a Japanese mother and African American father, Miyamoto is a Japanese citizen, grew up in Japan, and identifies as Japanese. Described in local media as a “saishoku kenbi,” a woman blessed with both intelligence and beauty, she holds a 5th degree mastery of Japanese calligraphy.

But reaction to her win has been both positive and negative, with some people questioning whether a multiracial person can truly represent Japan. According to local media, even she was initially a little wary about entering the pageant because she was “hāfu,” the Japanese word used to refer to multiracial or multi-ethnic half-Japanese people…

Read the entire article here.

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Homeland Tour for Biracial Adoptees

Posted in Articles, Asian Diaspora, Media Archive, United States on 2015-03-18 16:47Z by Steven

Homeland Tour for Biracial Adoptees

KoreAm
2015-03-09

Katherine Kim

Dawn Tomlinson

photographs by Denis Jeong

International adoption began in South Korea in 1953, as thousands of Korean children were left parentless and/or homeless by the Korean War, while many others were born to Korean women and fathered by American GIs or soldiers from one of 16 UN countries stationed in the country. Late last year, the Me & Korea Foundation and MBC Nanum hosted the first-ever homeland tour of Korea tailored for mixed-race adoptees. The co-authors were two of the 25 participants on the 10-day-long tour, which was funded by Korean Adoption Services, the Korean Ministry of Health and Welfare and the Jesus Love Presbyterian Church in Seoul. The following is a personal reflection of the authors’ experience returning to their birth country.

As half-Korean, half-white adoptees who came to the U.S. as toddlers more than 50 years ago, we were raised in white communities by white parents having little to no understanding of our Korean roots. A Korea homeland tour tailored to mixed-race adoptees, we believed, was a start to understanding this painful chapter in our personal histories.

For adoptees as a whole, a visit to Korea is more than about just travel and tourism. It can trigger profound feelings of loss and rejection. For mixed-race adoptees born during the post-Korean War era, those feelings are further complicated by the fact that we look neither fully Korean nor fully Western, and are a minority among more than 200,000 Korean adoptees worldwide.

While Korean War orphans were cast as “nobodies,” having lost their family lineage, mixed-race children fathered by American GIs or other UN soldiers during the war were thought of as even more inferior—we were known as tuigi, slang for “devil’s child.” We were labeled the “dust of the streets,” the lowest of the low. Within that bottom hierarchy even, Korean whites were treated better than Korean blacks.

Regardless of the nationality of our fathers, most mixed-race adoptees were born stateless, as our Korean mothers, often abandoned by these servicemen, could not confer citizenship onto us.

We were, and still are, the in-betweens…

Read the entire article here.

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