Q&A: Sophomore creates group to discuss mixed-race issues

Posted in Articles, Asian Diaspora, Campus Life, Interviews, Media Archive, United States on 2016-08-25 13:08Z by Steven

Q&A: Sophomore creates group to discuss mixed-race issues

The Ithican
Ithaca College, Ithaca, New York
2016-08-24

Celisa Calacal, Opinion Editor


Sophomore Walt Martzen created the group IC Mixed, where students can discuss mixed-race issues, a topic Martzen believes is often missing from conversations on race and identity.
Jade Cardichon/The Ithacan

This semester, sophomore Walt Martzen plans to expand the conversation on mixed-race identities through a new student discussion group, IC Mixed. As a biracial student himself, Martzen created this group over the summer to bring students of mixed race together and educate other students about what it means to be biracial or multiracial.

Though the group is not an official student organization recognized by the Office of Student Engagement and Multicultural Affairs, Martzen hopes the group will inspire an organic discussion about mixed-race identities beginning this semester.

Opinion Editor Celisa Calacal spoke with Martzen about his inspiration behind creating the group, why it’s important to talk about mixed-race identities and his personal experiences as a biracial student.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

Celisa Calacal: What inspired you to start this group?

Walt Martzen: I think one of the things that really got me thinking about how mixed people define themselves is when I went to ECAASU [East Coast Asian-American Student Union] last year with Asian-American Alliance. … There was a lot of good discussion that happened around talking about what it means to be Asian in that context and also what it means to be mixed. … It’s something that I struggled with at first and I didn’t realize, but I would call myself half-Chinese or half-white and that kind of language, I didn’t realize how it kind of isolated me. And so, I think from those conversations I kind of realized how important it is that, even while as mixed people, we are allies for different people, especially when maybe you look more white and people can’t tell you’re Asian or you look more like a certain race, and it’s important that we also take care of ourselves and that we look after our own health, and I think that’s one of the things that we want to do…

Read the entire interview here.

Tags: , , ,

The JewAsian Phenomenon: Raising Jewish-Asian Families

Posted in Articles, Asian Diaspora, Family/Parenting, Media Archive, Religion, United States on 2016-08-24 21:33Z by Steven

The JewAsian Phenomenon: Raising Jewish-Asian Families

JewishBoston: The Vibe of the Tribe
2016-08-10

Judy Bolton-Fasman, Culture Reporter

A new book, as well as a conversation with its authors, sheds light on a growing segment of the Jewish population—Jewish-Asian children who are raised as Jews.

Helen Kim and Noah Leavitt are the authors of “JewAsian: Race, Religion, and Identity for America’s Newest Jews,” the first book-length study of Jewish-Asian couples and their children. While the two sociologists, who are married and professors at Whitman College in Walla Walla, Wash., have a personal stake in the subject, they have also observed that as a Jewish-Asian couple they are far from alone in raising their children as Jews. In the book, the couple’s research on Jewish-Asian families is encapsulated in interviews and extensive studies on the subject.

Keren McGinity, director of Interfaith Families Jewish Engagement at Hebrew College, notes: “‘JewAsian’ is groundbreaking because it’s the first book to complicate the intermarriage narrative by looking at it through the trifold lens of ethnicity, race and religion. Kim and Leavitt’s work highlights important new ways of understanding Jewish-American, Asian-American and Jew-Asian identities, challenging dominant racial, ethnic and interfaith marriage discourses in the process. I am thrilled to have it on my syllabus for the course ‘Jewish Intermarriage in the Modern American Context’ at Hebrew College this fall.”

Kim and Leavitt recently talked to JewishBoston about their new book and their family life…

Read the entire interview here.

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

The changing faces of Singapore: Mixed race families

Posted in Arts, Asian Diaspora, Census/Demographics, Media Archive on 2016-08-23 20:17Z by Steven

The changing faces of Singapore: Mixed race families

Population.sg
2016-08-23

Karen Tee

This little red dot may be tiny, but what it lacks in size, it makes up for in diversity. As a society traditionally made up of people of different cultures and backgrounds, coexistence and intermixing is a common theme in our daily experience – be it in the food we eat, or even how we speak.

And according to the numbers, this is also a growing trend in our marriages and families. Around 20 per cent of marriages in Singapore in 2014 were inter-ethnic, in other words, between individuals of different races. This is up from 13 per cent a decade ago.

Experts say this trend is unsurprising, given Singapore’s increasingly well-travelled population and changing social norms.

“The world is a smaller place. And what would have been totally unusual two generations ago is far more acceptable in this day and age,” Anita Fam, a Families for Life council member, told TODAY.

Meet three mixed race Singaporean families, and hear their stories of when different cultures and traditions meet, and how they celebrate their diverse backgrounds….

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 2016-08-23 00:03Z 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: , , , , , ,

‘War Brides of Japan’ To Take Focus in New Documentary

Posted in Articles, Asian Diaspora, History, Media Archive, United States, Women on 2016-08-22 23:18Z by Steven

‘War Brides of Japan’ To Take Focus in New Documentary

NBC News
2016-08-10

Frances Kai-Hwa Wang

Journalist and filmmaker Yayoi Lena Winfrey is looking for more Japanese “war brides” to interview as she completes the filming for her feature-length documentary film, “War Brides of Japan.” With many of these women in their mid-80s, Winfrey said that time is critical to document their stories. With interviews already scheduled for 11 and their adult children in eight cities and three states this month, Winfrey hopes to find more women and families to interview along the way…

According to Winfrey, approximately 50,000 “war brides” came to the United States from Japan starting in 1947. Many were disowned by their families for marrying those who had bombed Hiroshima and Nagasaki and then occupied Japan, Winfrey said. Others were rejected by their American in-laws for being foreigners. Some were abandoned by the American servicemen who married them while some were also ostracized by the Japanese-American community, only just released from the incarceration camps of World War II. Some were falsely stereotyped as prostitutes, while others were blamed for causing World War II, she said…

Read the entire article here.

Tags: , , ,

‘Blasian Narratives’ struggles with the question: Black enough? Asian enough?

Posted in Articles, Arts, Asian Diaspora, Media Archive, United States on 2016-08-21 21:35Z by Steven

‘Blasian Narratives’ struggles with the question: Black enough? Asian enough?

Kore Asian Media
2016-08-16

Tae Hong


“Blasian Narratives” performs inside Stanford Theatre. (Harrison Troung/Courtesy photo)

Teaching third graders in an underserved area of Brooklyn, Cenisa Gavin often looks out at her mostly black and Latino students and is reminded of the failings of her own teachers when it came to discussions about race and identity.

Gavin, 23, is black on her father’s side, and Korean Eskimo on her mother’s side. She has long, thick hair and, by her own description, slanted eyes. Growing up as a mixed-race child in Anchorage, Alaska, was one thing – she could never, for one, converse with her Korean great-grandmother because of a language barrier, and that was always the way it had been for her family – but coming across the term “Blasian” as a high schooler, and then joining a group of them to talk about her heritage as black and Asian on a theater stage at Spelman College years later, was another.

“I think my teachers did us a disservice by not discussing what it is to be colorblind, and how being colorful is greater than that,” Gavin said. When she told her students about her mixed race last year, she said, and when they saw her black father, the kids were surprised: “They said, ‘Ms. Gavin’s dad is black? You’re black?’”

This is one of the themes carried in the stories told by the seven-member group with which Gavin has now starred in a film project, “Blasian Narratives,” started by Cambodian American director Omnes “Canon” Senmos and looking toward release this fall…

Read the entire article here.

Tags: , ,

Celebrating Japan’s multicultural Olympians

Posted in Articles, Asian Diaspora, Brazil, Caribbean/Latin America, Census/Demographics, Media Archive on 2016-08-20 01:40Z by Steven

Celebrating Japan’s multicultural Olympians

The Japan Times
2016-08-17

Naomi Schanen, Staff Writer

Meet the athletes flying the flag and challenging traditional views of what it is to be Japanese

Japan and Brazil’s ties go back to the early 20th century, when the first Japanese immigrants arrived as farmers in the South American country. Brazil is home to the largest Japanese community outside Japan — 1.5 million of the country’s 205 million people identify themselves as Japanese-Brazilian, including a handful of members of the Brazilian Olympic team.

But although the host countries of the current and next Summer Olympics share cultural bonds, compared to Brazil, where nearly half of people consider themselves mixed-race, multiculturalism remains elusive in Japan, where ethnic homogeneity is often held up as something to be proud of.

Though Japan is home to the second-largest Brazilian community outside of Brazil, only 2 percent of the country’s population was born overseas. Compared to most other developed countries, immigration to Japan is negligible. However, despite having to deal with an aging, shrinking population, the majority of Japanese seem to prefer it this way. In a recent Yomiuri Shimbun poll, only 37 percent said they felt that more non-Japanese should be accepted to fill the gaps in the country’s labor market…

Read the entire article here.

Tags: , , , ,

Eyes Wide Cut: The American Origins of Korea’s Plastic Surgery Craze

Posted in Articles, Asian Diaspora, Health/Medicine/Genetics, History, Media Archive, United States, Women on 2016-08-17 02:16Z by Steven

Eyes Wide Cut: The American Origins of Korea’s Plastic Surgery Craze

The Wilson Quarterly
Fall 2015

Laura Kurek

South Korea’s obsession with cosmetic surgery can be traced back to an American doctor, raising uneasy questions about beauty standards.

At sixteen stories high, the doctor’s office looms over the neon-colored metropolis. Within the high-rise, consultation offices, operating rooms, and recovery suites occupy most floors. Additional floors house a dental clinic, a rooftop lounge, and apartments for long-term stays. This is Beauty Korea (BK), a one-stop, full-service plastic surgery facility in the heart of Seoul, South Korea.

South Korea has an obsession with plastic surgery. One in five South Korean women has undergone some type of cosmetic procedure, compared with one in twenty in the United States. With plastic surgery’s staggering rise in popularity, an attractive physical appearance is now the sine qua non for a successful career. Undergoing surgery to achieve an employable face in South Korea is just as commonplace as going to the gym in America.

The most popular surgery is Asian blepharoplasty, the process of changing the Asian eyelid, commonly referred to as the “monolid,” into a double eyelid. The second is rhinoplasty, or a nose job. The prevalence of these two procedures, especially the “double-eyelid” operation, has led to a delicate question: Are South Koreans are seeking to westernize their appearance? Cosmetic surgeons and scholars tread lightly around the issue. Some argue that Western culture — a broad and imperfect term — cannot claim “big eyes” as unique to its definition of beauty. Others note that only 50 percent of the Asian population is born with monolids. Some practitioners, including Dr. Hyuenong Park of OZ Cosmetic Clinic and Beverly Hills plastic surgeon Kenneth Steinsapir, deny altogether that double-eyelid surgery is intended to make its recipient appear more Western.

The story of an American surgeon in the postwar Korea of the 1950s, however, suggests otherwise…

Read the entire article here.

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Mothers’ Darlings of the South Pacific: The Children of Indigenous Women and U.S. Servicemen, World War II

Posted in Anthologies, Anthropology, Asian Diaspora, Books, History, Media Archive, Oceania, United States on 2016-08-17 01:50Z by Steven

Mothers’ Darlings of the South Pacific: The Children of Indigenous Women and U.S. Servicemen, World War II

University Of Hawai’i Press
April 2016
424 pages
95 b&w illustrations
Cloth ISBN: 978-0-8248-5152-1

Edited by:

Judith A. Bennett, Professor of History
University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand

Angela Wanhalla, Associate Professor of History
University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand

Like a human tsunami, World War II brought two million American servicemen to the South Pacific where they left a human legacy of some thousands of children. Mothers’ Darlings of the South Pacific traces the intimate relationships that existed in the wartime South Pacific between U.S. servicemen and Indigenous women, and considers the fate of the resulting children. The American military command carefully managed intimate relationships in the Pacific Theater, applying U.S. immigration law based on race on Pacific peoples of color to prevent marriage “across the color line.” For Indigenous women and their American servicemen sweethearts, legal marriage was impossible, giving rise to a generation of children known as “G.I. Babies.” Among these Pacific war children, one thing common to almost all is the longing to know more about their American father. Mothers’ Darlings of the South Pacific traces these children’s stories of loss, emotion, longing, and identity, and of lives lived in the shadow of global war.

This book considers the way these relationships developed in the major U.S. bases of the South Pacific Command from Bora Bora in the east across to Solomon Islands in the west, and from the Gilbert Islands in the north to New Zealand, in the southernmost region of the Pacific. Some chapters consider in-depth case studies of the life trajectories of one or two people; others are more of a group portrait. Each discusses the context of the particular island societies and how this often determined the way such intimate relationships developed and were accommodated during the war years and beyond.

The writers interviewed many of the children of the Americans and some of the few surviving mothers as well as others who recalled the wartime presence in their islands. Oral histories reveal what the records of colonial governments and the military largely have ignored, providing a perspective on the effects of the U.S. occupation that until now has been disregarded by historians of the Pacific war. The richness of this book should appeal to those interested the Pacific, World War II, as well as intimacy, family, race relations, colonialism, identity, and the legal structures of U.S. immigration.

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Faithfully Podcast 8: Asian Americans, Yellowface, and Pursuing Whiteness

Posted in Articles, Asian Diaspora, Audio, Media Archive, Religion, United States on 2016-08-17 01:19Z by Steven

Faithfully Podcast 8: Asian Americans, Yellowface, and Pursuing Whiteness

Faithfully Magazine: At the Intersection of Race, Culture & Christianity
2016-05-28

Chinese/Filipino Author Bruce Reyes-Chow Shares Perspectives on Navigating Race

The Rev. Bruce Reyes-Chow joined the Faithfully Podcast crew recently to share his thoughts and observations on some issues Asian Americans face when it comes to experiences relating to race and culture.

Reyes-Chow hails from San Francisco, California, is a third-generation Chinese/Filipino, and a former pastor. Reyes-Chow, ordained in the Presbyterian Church (USA), served as Moderator for the denomination’s 2008 General Assembly, its highest elected office.

The married father of three teen girls has authored the books But I Don’t See You as Asian: Curating Conversations About Race, The Definitive-ish Guide for Using Social Media in the Church, and 40 Days, 40 Prayers, 40 Words: Lenten Reflections for Everyday Life, among others.

In his discussion with Faithfully Podacst hosts Nicola Menzie, Keisha Boston, and Vincent Funaro, Reyes-Chow comments on challenges some Asian Americans face when relating to the black-white binary paradigm inherent in conversations about racism in the United States…

Read the article here. Listen to the podcast here. Download the podcast here.

Tags: , , , , , ,